Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Price of Beer and Stout

Aren't price fixing agreements great? Obviously not for the punters at the time, but for historians like me. They tell you all sorts of handy things. Like what beers were on sale in a pub and how much they cost.

There are a few fascinating things in the article. Like Mild and Porter being chosen as the standard beers. It would be the last time Porter was so mainstream. From what I've seen of WW I brewing records, it was fairly arbitrary whether a brewery called their weakened late-war beer Porter or Stout. By all accounts the same beer was often sold as both Porter and Stout.


It was stated to-day in reference to the price of beer and stout that, far as London is concerned, the recommendation of the Central Protection Society is that for mild ale and porter the retailer should charge 3.5d half-pint, 7d. a pint, and 1s. 2d. a quart on and off licensed premises, no reduction being made for quantities. Mild ale and porter will be the standard articles brewed. As regards bitter and Burton ales and stouts, it is marked, the prices vary in accordance with the particular speciality of the brewers, and will be fixed by the local societies in the various districts this week. The South-East London district, which comprises Parliamentary Divisions of Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, has adopted the recommendation with regard to mild ale and porter, and has fixed the following prices: Bitter and Burton ales and stout: 6d. half-pint, 1s. a pint, and 2s. a quart. Mild and bitter, mild and Burton, and mild and stout: 5d. a half-pint, 10d. pint, and 1s. 8d. a quart.

In an interview with a representative of "The Midland Daily Telegraph" to-day Mr. Wm. Johnson, of Messrs. Johnson and Mason, said: So far as Coventry concerned, I may state that a meeting Birmingham on Monday last of the Brewers' Association and those interested in the trade it was decided sell one quality of beer and stout at 7d. per pint. This, it is believed, will be adopted in this city after a meeting of the trade this week. I have particularly urged in the interests of every "on" and "off" licence, both in the city and the country, continued Mr. Johnson, that the price should be sevenpence per pint for ale and stout, with a second quality of beer only, and of a lower gravity at fivepence per pint. It certainly ought to be understood that the working man engaged upon certain work that is not so remunerative as countless other occupations cannot afford to pay sevenpence for a pint of beer, and I have most strongly represented this fact before interested brewers, that the working man must have consideration in this matter. I yet have hopes that this view will recognised and dealt with as to prevent any discontent."
Coventry Evening Telegraph - Thursday 29 March 1917, page 2.

The different tack of the Coventry district is also worth mentioning. I wonder what type of beer that 7d a pint stuff was? Most likely Mild. The 5d one, too.

Remember that in 1914 a Mild Ale of around 5% ABV cost just 2d a pint. Three years later it da more than trebled in price, and the strength had been cut. Though in early July 1917 Whitbread's X Ale still had a gravity of 1045º, down from 1055º in October 1914. Things would only get worse. X Ale was replaced in late July 1917 with GA (Government Ale) at 1033.5º.

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