In 1914, the UK was far from self-sufficient in hops. Large quantities of hops were imported, the biggest source by far being the USA. Hops were still travelling East across the Atlantic in 1939, but in nothing like the quantities they had been before WW I.
The main other sources of hop imports were central Europe, which provided classy one like Hallertau and Saaz, and Belgium which provided cheap and cheerful Poperinge.
Due to shortages, the government compelled brewers to reduce their hopping rates:
"Consumption of hops by brewers was cut in June, 1941, under instructions of the Ministry of Food, by 20% of the rate used per standard barrel."
1955 Brewers' Almanack, page 64.
Problems with hop supply began early in the war:
"The reduction in hop supplies has been serious. In June, 1941, a 20 per cent cut was imposed in the gross amount available to the trade. The actual quantity which passed through the Hops Marketing Board (which controls hops and their distribution) was 75 per cent of the total brewers' nominations. These nominations would have been the same in 1941 as the consumption during the datum year, if as many standard barrels had been brewed as in that year. But in 1942 the nominations, themselves, had to be cut by 20 per cent, and then only 80 per cent of the nominations were available, i.e., 64 per cent of the prewar quantities. In the present year hop rates in practice are about 1 to 1.2 lb per standard barrel, i.e., about 0.3 per cent, whereas in normal times this would have been almost double.This is an excerpt from, if all goes well, will be my 2020 book. Can you guess what the subject is?
Hops are obtainable only under license, and a brewer who runs short may apply to the Brewers' Society for permission to secure a further allowance from his nominated merchants. Brewers usually carry a stock of hops over from one season to the next, new hops rarely being used. By now all reserves of this kind have been used up and brewers are living from hand to mouth; in many cases they have to use the new season's hops as soon as these are delivered. Matters were not helped during the London blitz back in late 1940, when some 50,000 pockets of hops were burnt. It was also on this occasion that the historic building, Brewers' Hall — the home of the Institute of Brewing — was completely destroyed."
"Wallenstein Laboratories Communications, December 1943, Volume VI, number 19" pages 156 - 157.
|Hop and hop product imports 1938 - 1949|
|Year ended 31st March||Hops||Hop Oil||Hop Extracts. Essences, and similar Preparations||Net Receipts from Duty|
|§ Excess of Drawbacks.|
|1955 Brewers' Almanack, page 64.|