Once into the 1950s, things began to pick up. Gravities crawled up a little, average OG hitting 1037º in 1951. Where it remained for several decades.
Worryingly for brewers, beer output and consumption continued to fall. The trend was only reversed in 1960. It’s no coincidence that was also the year there was a cut in the tax on beer. Even so, beer production didn’t get back to its 1948 level until 1967.
The restrictions on brewing were gradually relaxed. One of the main results of this was the replacement of flaked barley – which the government had forced brewers to use – by flaked maize, which had been the adjunct of choice before the war.
With building restrictions also relaxed, many brewers took the opportunity to enlarge or modernise their bottling plant. Bottled beer was all the rage and was one of the few growth areas. It also provided greater profit than draught beer.
In the early years of the 1950s really strong beers began to reappear for the first time since 1940. The coronation in 1953 in particular prompted the brewing of special celebratory strong beers. Some of these remained permanent fixtures.
The final years of the decade saw an upsurge of interest in Lager and many breweries, even quite small ones, starting brewing one.
|UK beer production and average OG|
|Year||bulk barrels||average OG|
|1955 Brewers' Almanack, pages 50 & 80.|
|1971 Brewers' Almanack, pages 45 & 75.|
This is an excerpt from my book Austerity! Which you can buy here. All the fun of post-war Britain.