Thursday 10 April 2014

Random brewery price list - Simonds of Winchester

Ah, the stuff I find when looking for something else. Like this. A random brewery price list from the 1870's.

It's for an obscure brewery that closed long ago. pretty irrelevant, really, to the 21st century. Which is exactly why I find it so fascinating. I'm a contrary bastard.

First some background about the brewery. founded in 1812, traded as James Simonds 1847 - 1857, Simonds & Co. 1858 - 1893 and finally Winchester Brewery Co. Ltd. until it was bought by Marston in 1923. It had 108 pubs at the time of the takeover. It only brewed for another four years, but was used for bottling until 1969*.

Obscure enough for you?

Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Saturday 19 February 1870, page 4.
What's odd about that range of beers? Almost half of them are Porter or Stout. Which is a big proportion for a country brewery at that date. Also there's a high proportion of expensive beers - four costing 54 shillings a barrel.

It's an odd selection. There are only two X Ales when I'd have xpected at least three. This is also fairly early for a provincial brewery to be making IPA, unless it specialised in Pale Ales, which Simonds obviously didn't. I've no idea what M.B. XXX is. Mild Beer XXX, perhaps?

This is my guess of the gravities, based on Whitbread. The gravities may have been a little lower at Simonds:

Simonds of Winchester beers in 1870
price per barrel guess OG
Old Stock Ale 54 1080
X East India Pale Ale 54 1065
M.B. XXX 54 1080
Mild Ale XXX 48 1078
Mild Ale XX 36 1058
Treble Stout 54 1085
Double Stout 48 1078
Single Stout 42 1068
Porter 36 1058
Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Saturday 19 February 1870, page 4.

That's it. I told you this was pretty random.

* "A Century of British Brewers Plus" by Norman Barber, 205, page 50.


Martyn Cornell said...

I'd bet the MB was the Old Stock Ale, unaged. I'd also bet that the Double and Single Stouts were made by mixing the porter with the treble stout in due proportions. Not that dissimilar a price list to ones I've seen from Hertfordshire from the same time period, though the surprise to me is the absence of an AK or a KK

David Williams said...

My research into Winchester brewers shows that they all seem to have charged similar prices from the 1870s to the end of the century, and that they all offered a wide range of beers - as in your example.

Ron Pattinson said...


prices were pretty much set in stone in the last few decades of the 19th century. Every sold similar beers at similar prices. That was true for the whole of England.