Sunday, 22 August 2021

Dutch malt rationing in 1939

Even before The Netherlands entered the war, the government was undertaking measures to regulate the use of barley and malt. No doubt prompted by their bad experiences in WW I. In 1914 the country was totally dependent on imported barley. When supplies were cut off due to German U-boat activity, brewing fell into crisis and production collapsed.

In October 1940, it was determined that 20,000 tons would be released for brewing in the following 12 months. This was to allow 26,000 tons in total to be used - 2,000 tons more than in 1938. Quite surprising. But demand was expected to increase by 5% and replacements would need to be found for the 2% of beer imported.  

It was intended to have a stock of 15,000 tons at the end of September 1940. 6,000 tons fewer than in October 1939. A slightly risky strategy, as it turned out. After Holland was occupied by the Germans, refreshing stocks would be extremely difficult. However, no-one in Holland knew that was going to happen at the end of 1939.
There was still plenty of rice available and the government placed no restrictions on its use. The same wasn’t true of sugar and breweries were allocated just four weeks of supplies.

Much as in the UK, the quantity of malt allocated to a brewery was based on the quantity used in 1938. Which was obviously the fairest method.

Rather counterproductively, the government insisted that if a brewery imported barley or malt itself, that quantity would be subtracted form its allocation. In WW I, the government had confiscated malt jointly imported by a group of brewers. The net result being brewers abandoned attempts at importation. Consequently in 1939 the CBK (Centraal Brouwerijkantoor, the Dutch brewers’ association) proposed that brewers should be allowed to retain a percentage of their imports without a reduction in their allocation. 

This is how they calculated 20,000 tons being available:

In 1938, malting barley processed   24,000 tons
Increase for possible loss of beer import (2%)   500 tons
Increase if turnover level remains 5% above 1938   1,250 tons
Rounding   250 tons
For one year of production subject to beer exports remaining   26,000 tons
Starting stock Sept.'40 (50% of total consumption 1938, after conversion of other raw materials into malting barley)   15,000 tons
Total   41,000 tons
Deducted from this is the stock as at 31 August 1939, namely:    
4/3 x malt stock 19,000  
barley stock 2,000 21,000 tons
Balance   20,000 tons


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