Thursday, 8 November 2012

Beer Exports in Wartime

I bin doin' me some thunking. About WW I and how far its tentacles stretched. It's what happens when you read lots of old newspapers.

The Dutch newspaper archive doesn't just include ones printed in the Netherlands, it has ones from the colonies, too. In particular, what is now Indonesia. They contained plenty of beer adverts for recognisable names like Heineken and Amstel. I was surprised that they were still turning up as late as April 1916. I thought sea traffic had been pretty much disrupted by then, even for neutral countries like Holland.

De Sumatra post, 20-03-1916, page 4.

Then I found this achingly terse article::

"Beer Export Forbidden
The export of beer is forbidden."
De Tijd, 29-05-1916, page 2. (My translation.)

I have to praise the author for his economy. Though, were I being picky, the body of the article is unnecessary. The headline says it all.

In 1917 a (slightly) more detailed article* reported that, as the War Department could no longer import beer from Holland for its canteens, they were going buy it from Japan.

That's all just an aside. What got me doing that thinking was a shameless advertorial from October 1915** singing the praises of Carlsberg's beer. Admittedly, the author did admit that the brewery had sent bottles. I had that thought.

About the impact of WW I on Danish brewing. In particular, on Carlsberg, who already had a big export trade. The dangers to shipping in the North Sea and the Channel must have made exporting difficult. And were all their African and Far Eastern markets all still open to them?

* Het nieuws van den dag voor Nederlandsch-Indië, 29-05-1917, page 2.
** Het nieuws van den dag voor Nederlandsch-Indië, 16-10-1915, page 2.

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