As so often, the non-intoxicating character of Lager is highlighted. Considering it was probably at least 5% ABV, that's a little misleading. That's enough alcohol to get anyone pissed, if they drink enough.
Anyway, here's the ad:
And here's the text:
"ST. ANNE'S LAGER BEER.First thing I noticed was the small cask sizes. Only firkin (9 gallons) and kilderkin (18 gallons). At a time when most beer was sold in either barrels (36 gallon) or hogshead (54 gallon) casks. It's a sure sign that Lager wasn't a huge seller.
THE modern requirement of a light, agreeable, and comparatively non-intoxicating Beverage is supplied by the
ST. ANNE'S LAGER BEER.
Orders may be sent through Agents; or direct to
ST. ANNE'S WELL BREWERY, EXETER.
These prices are at least one-third less than Foreign Lager Beer. The above Beer was shown the recent National Brewers' Exhibition, Agricultural Hall, Islington, and received flattering Notices in the London Press. "
Western Times - Wednesday 26 October 1881, page 2.
Then there's the price. "At least one third less than Foreign Lager Beer." As St. Anne's Well Lager was 54/- a barrel, that would make foreign Lager at least 81/- per barrel. That's a good bit less than the 106s 6d quoted in 1869 as the price of imported Vienna Beer. Presumably the price had come down.
You can see the attraction of Lager for an ambitious British brewery. Lager was no stronger than X Ale (standard Mild), yet sold for 50% more (X Ale was 36/- a barrel). I'm sure that Lager didn't cost 50% more to brew than X Ale, so the profit margin was higher.
I'm not quite done with St. Anne's Lager Beer yet. One more report to go.