Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Bottled Stouts in 1913

When searching for early references to Dark Mild, one I stumbled upon was in a massive catalogue from William Whiteley Ltd., published in 1913.  They billed themselves as "universal providers" and it's no exaggeration.

Bed linen, external blinds, marquees, saddles, furniture handles, mangles, hammers, dog collars, revolvers, model trains, cameras, Russian flags, salad dressing, ham, mushroom spawn, monkeys, coal and beer. In fact, if you want to know the price of just about anything in 1913, this is the place to look. The two volumes run over 1200 pages.

Obviously the beer bit interests me most. Quite a lot of beers are included, mostly draught, but also quite a few bottles.

There's this little notice at the start of the beer section to remind you of the idiocy of UK licensing laws:

"SPECIAL NOTICE.
Under the conditions of our Licence we cannot supply leas than 3 dozen Imperial Pints; 4 dozen Reputed Pints; 6 dozen Imperial Half-Pints of Bottled Ales and Stout. 2 dozen Reputed Quarts; 4 dozen Reputed Pints of Cyder.
Quantities can be made up, assorted, to suit our Customers' requirements."
While in the revolver section there are no restrictions on sales.

It also claims: "Any Ale or Stout not quoted in these Lists can be procured at short notice." I'm not sure that's 100% true. I'm betting that they couldn't have got hold of the beer from a tint brewery in rural Scotland.

The bottled Stouts they had as regular offerings were mostly from the London area, with the exception of Usher, Allsopp and Guinness. They mostly look pretty weak, based on the price.

I've assumed that Whitbread Copper is their Porter, and Stout is London Stout.  And that seems to tally with their strength. Draught Porter was 2d per pint and bottled beer sold at a premium. So 2s 6d a dozen (2.5d per pint) is about the cheapest you'd ever expect to see a beer described "Stout".

Guinness is probably the strongest beer in the list. And that wasn't super-strong for a Stout. There  were much stronger ones. For example, Whitbread SS and SSS were 1086º and 1095º, respectively. At just 2d per pint, Whiteley's own brand Brown Stout must have been under 1050º.

Not sure why the Guinness bottled by M.H. Foster was more expensive. They must be the same beer, as Guinness only made Extra Stout and the export version Foreign Extra Stout.


Bottled Stouts in 1913
Brewery Place beer price (per doz) Imperial pint OG
Whiteley London Whiteley’s London Brown Stout 2s
Whiteley London Whiteley’s Nourishing Stout (specially selected)  2s 6d
Whitbread London Whitbread's Cooper  2s 4d 1053
Whitbread London Whitbread's Stout 2s 6d 1054
Usher Devizes Usher’s Court Luncheon Stout 2s 6d
Usher Devizes Usher's Oatmeal Stout 2s 6d
Watney, Combe, Reid London Reid's Stout 3s 6d
Watney, Combe, Reid London Reid's Invalid Stout 3s
Watney, Combe, Reid London Reid’s Family Stout 2s 6d
Sedgwick Watford Sedgwick's Stout 2s 6d
Fremlin Maidstone Fremlin’s Stout, Elephant Brand 2s 6d
Fremlin Maidstone Fremlin’s Oatmeal Stout 2s 6d
Allsopp Burton Allsopp’s Luncheon Stout 2s 6d
Waltham London Waltham’s Brown Stout 2s 6d
Waltham London Waltham's S. N. Stout 3s
Allsopp Burton Allsopp's Special Stout 3s 3d
Raggett London Raggett's Nourishing Stout 4s
Guinness Dublin Guinness’s Extra Double Stout 3s 4d 1074
Guinness Dublin Guinness’s Extra Stout (bottled M. H. Foster & Sons) 4s 1074
Sources:
William Whiteley General Price List October, 1913, Volume 2, page 1196.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/107.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.

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