Monday, 14 September 2020

Scottish beer exports

Scotland hit far above its weight when it came to beer exports. I've known this for a long time. Always nice to get numbers to back this up.

Scotland was about 11% of the UK populations, but was the source of almost half of beer exports.

Export of Beer quarter ending 31st March
  1893 1894 1895 % in 1895 population 1895 % pop.
England and Wales 64,840 49,669 64,220 48.78% 30,451,528 77.64%
Scotland 65,645 66,635 63,207 48.01% 4,209,645 10.73%
Ireland 3,911 3,880 4,224 3.21% 4,558,941 11.62%
United Kingdom 134,396 120,184 131,651   39,220,114  
The Brewers' Guardian 1895, page 121.

A considerable percentage of Scottish beer was exported: more than 10%, if we extrapolate these figure out for the whole year, Scottish brewers would have exported more than 200,000 barrels. out of a total of around 1.8 million barrels.

UK brewing stats in 1895
Country barrels
England & Wales (standard barrels) 27,248,804
Scotland (standard barrels) 1,758,879
Ireland (standard barrels) 2,670,803
UK (standard barrels) 31,678,486
Exports (bulk barrels) 432,742
Brewers' Almanack 1928, p. 115
Brewers' Almanack 1928, page 109.

Which explains why Edinburgh could support so many breweries with a relatively modest population. Not every brewer was involved in the export trade, at least not outside the UK. A considerable quantity of Scottish beer went to England. Both types of export were important for brewers in places like Edinburgh and Alloa.

Exports were far less important, relatively speaking, for English brewers. Around 200,000 barrels out of more than 27 million in total. Which isn't to say the exports weren't important for all English brewers. Exports were important for brewers such as Bass and Allsopp, who had made a speciality of shipping beer long distances. The vast majority of English brewers didn't export any beer.

You might be surprised by the tiny quantities of beer exported from Ireland. Large amounts were being shipped to England and Scotland by Guinness, but that didn't count as exports. As soon as part of Ireland became independent, UK beer imports jumped by a million barrels a year.

1 comment:

ts said...

So what were the the top five destinations for the exports?