Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Another Younger's advert

but this time from George not William. That's the George Younger who was one of the largest breweries in Alloa,

You'll probably guess why I picked it, despite it not being a masterpiece of the advertiser's art. Advertising was much less dynamic back in the day. Dawber & Co. of Lincoln used the same advert for at least 20 years:

Lincolnshire Chronicle - Friday 14 October 1864, page 4

Lincolnshire Chronicle - Friday 01 February 1884, page 5

A good example there of the rock-solid price stability of the late Victorian period. There's no change in price over a period of 20 years. How much did I pay for beer 20 years ago? Can't remember exactly, but it was much less than I pay now.

Best get this back in focus and back to George Younger and his advert. Here it is:

Motherwell Times - Friday 22 August 1924, page 3.

No, it's not the Pale Ale that drew me to this advert like a pervert to a playground. Oh, no. It's the other product being advertised. I hesitate to call it beer because it was alcohol-free: Black Beer.

There's a funny story behind the Black Beer and other non-alcoholic products of George Younger. One that includes Bass and the local-veto legislation. Robert  Meiklejohn had first brewed in the Candleriggs Brewer, but moved to the larger Grange Brewery on the edge of town around 1852.It was a former distillery that had been converted into a brewery. The Candleriggs Brewery was purchased by George Younger, who greatly expanded it.*

Trouble started after Charles Maitland became senior partner at Meiklejohn in the late 1850's. His family crest being the Bass Rock, he changed the brewery's name to Bass Crest. You can guess what happened next. Bass were notoriously litigious in protection of their trademark. In the 50 years following 1862, Bass instigated a number of actions against Meiklejohn with regard to their trademarks. The matter was only finally brought to a close when Bass bought Meiklejohn in 1918.**

Obviously Bass had no real interest in the brewery and soon sold it on. To George Younger, in 1919. Why did Younger want another brewery in Alloa? To operate delicensed brewery of non-alcoholic beers.This is all connected with the Local Veto Act, which allowed votes on the partial or total removal of licenses from a district.*** Canny Younger's were making sure they could still sell products in areas that had become delicensed. See how the advert stresses "no licence required".

As well as Black Beer, there were also Pony Brand Temperance Stouts. The beers did contain small amounts of alcohol, being brewed from very low gravities. The Black Beer had an OG of about 1014º.  The Grange brewery continued to brew non-alcoholic beers until 1941, when it closed and became a store.****

Funny thing is, their Sweetheart Stout was barely any stronger in the 1950's. I've plenty of examples that were only about 1.5% ABV. Maybe they got their idea for from their Temperance Stout. I've just realised that I've no need to say "about" with regard to the OG of Black Beer. Because I've an analysis of it from 1922. Plus a couple of other things. Take a look:

George Younger watery beers
Year Beer Style FG OG ABV App. Attenuation
1922 Black Beer Black Beer 1004 1011 0.90 63.64%
1933 Lemon shandy Shandy 1006 1014 1.03 57.14%
1933 Sparkling Table Beer Pale Ale 1007.5 1021 1.74 64.29%
Thomas Usher Gravity Book document TU/6/11 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive

Not sure if all of those came from the Grange Brewery. I am sure that none of them would get you pissed.

* "Alloa Ale", by Charles McMaster, 1985, page 51.
** "Alloa Ale", by Charles McMaster, 1985, page 52 - 55.
*** "Alloa Ale", by Charles McMaster, 1985, page 55.
**** "Alloa Ale", by Charles McMaster, 1985, page 55.


Gary Gillman said...

One can only rue the passing of a time when porter came from some British breweries in four strengths. But increasingly, intrepid American craft brewers, and also numerous U.K. and Irish brewers, are bringing it back to life. You can get porter at 4, 6, 7.5 and 9%+ ABV and variants in between, and much of it is excellent.

It's my perception that recent stouts and porters in the U.S. are eschewing the grapefruity/piney hop taste for a more neutral (non-aromatic), English-style hopping. In part this may be due to the fact that Black IPA is taking up the C-hopped side of the equation.


Barm said...

At the risk of pointing out the blatantly obvious, it looks like George Younger's were suffering from being confused with William Younger’s in the trade, hence the emphasis on the customer asking for GEORGE Younger’s pale ale or whatever.