There had been many rumpours distributed - especially after the 1880 Free Mash Tun Act - about the dangerous substances used to brew beer. Total bollocks, for the most part. Though the rumours were, inevitably, mostly started by temperanve twats.
"Beers.— A number of people always imagine that beer is brewed from deleterious materials, and retailed at outrageously high prices, as the following impromptu lines written by a famous wit to a no less famous Brewer in days long gone by, show:
"They've raised the price of table drink.
What is the reason, do you think?
The tax on malt's the cause, I hear;
But what has malt to do with beer!"
You can assure your customers that no Brewers of reputation brew from any substance that is harmful to health, and that, if asked to pay more than their share towards the expenses consequent upon the war, their predecessors, in Sheridan's time, had the same privilege. If, therefore, beer seems to be harmful, it must be, as the old lady said, "On account of the exciseman's stick"! The mere fact that the beer in a Licensed House sometimes differs from the same quality at the Brewery is no proof that it is harmful!
Any deterioration in the quality must be attributed to the "tyranny of trade." Is not beer the great irrigator of Conservative principles?"
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, pages 212 - 213.
I can't really argue with that last sentence. Mostly because I've no idea what it means. Sounds good, mind.
The next section gets into some specifics about beer pricing.
Saloon Bars. Public Bars. Mild 8d. and 7d. per pint 7d. and 6d. per pint Bitter 8d. „ „ 7d. „ „ Best Bitter 9d. „ „ 8d. „ „
The duty on beer is 100s. per standard barrel.
It has been suggested that it is wrong to rob the poor man of his beer. Is it more right for the Government, as a sleeping partner in the Trade, to rob the poor man through his beer?
0.5 pints 6d. saloon bars only.
0.5 pints 8d. Bass and Guinness.
The average percentage of gross profit in a public bar is 18 to 20 per cent.
The average percentage of gross profit in a saloon bar is 35 to 40 per cent."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, page 213.
This book was published at a very strange point in time. Price controls on beer had only been abolished in August 1921. Presumably about the time this book was being written.
I would argue about the prices quoted. In London at this point, there were Mild Ales at 5d, 6d and 7d per pint. While Ordinary Bitter was usually 8d and Best Bitter 9d. Mild Ales would be around 1028º, 1035º and 1043º; Bitter 1047º and 1054º. In general, beers would have a gravity just over the minimum allowed for the price.
|Price control 1917-1921|
|3d||<1022 span="">1022>||1020-1026||<1019 span="">1019>|
|4d||<1036 span="">1036>||<1030 span="">1030>||1023-1028||1027-1032||1020-1026|
|The Brewers' Almanack 1928 pages 100 - 101.|
|"The British Brewing Industry 1830-1980"|
This was also the brief period when beer duty was 100 shillings (five quid) per standard barrel. In 1924 it was reduced, but in an odd way. The official duty remained ay 100 shillings, but there was a rebate of 20 shillings per bulk barrel. Something which penalised the brewing of stronger beer. It's effect was to knock off 1d per pint from the pricek
I'm pleased to see the profit margins specified. As I suspected, they were very low in the public bar. Obviously, they were higher in the posh side as the prices were higher.