Sunday, 20 September 2020

The ups and downs of brewing in Berlin

I used to think brewing the UK was a rollercoaster in the interwar years. Things were far more extreme in Germany.

It took a few years after the end of WW I,  but by the mid-1920s, beer production was just about back to its pre-war level. A bit slower that the recovery in the UK. But, then again, brewing had fallen far lower in Germany. Almost completely petering out by the end of 1918.

In the final years of the 1920s, Berlin was even brewing more than before WW I. It didn't last long. The Wall Street Crash of 1929 brought down the whole world's economy, including Germany's. And it had a devastating effect on German brewing.

Because, as in the UK, the German government tried to raise much needed revenue by bumping up the tax on beer. And, just like in the UK, it was a total disaster. Beer production slumped and the tax revenue with it. You can see the effect in the table:

Beer production in Berlin 
financial year output (hl) % change
1912/13 5,394,398  
1923/24 2,687,668 -50.18%
1924/25 3,873,554 44.12%
1925/26 5,134,156 32.54%
1926/27 5,145,801 0.23%
1927/28 5,195,836 0.97%
1928/29 5,580,715 7.41%
1929/30 6,110,647 9.49%
1930/31 5,104,770 -16.46%
1931/32 3,829,163 -24.99%
1932/33 3,466,521 -9.47%
1933/34 3,348,422 -3.41%
Beiträge zur Geschichte des Berliner Brauwesens und seiner Organisation by Karl Bullemer, Berlin, 1959, pages 66 and 79.

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