I realised the figures highlight a particular feature of the British brewing industry: tied houses. A brewery of any size had massive amounts of capital tied up in their pub estate. Much more than in the brewery premises themselves.
I’ve picked three breweries that were to form the core of two of the Big Six, Courage and Bass Charrington. At all three, the pub estate accounted for over 50% of their assets. Though at Barclay Perkins it’s not quite so easy to see because they’ve lumped together the breweries and pubs.
It made British breweries quite odd businesses, with profits that looked rather small compared to the amount of capital invested. When people from outside the brewing industry began to get involved in the business, they weren’t very happy with the return on investment. That in turn prompted a hardening of attitudes towards tenants as breweries tried to squeeze more profit out of their pubs. It destroyed the cosy relationship between brewer and tenant that had served both parties relatively well for decades.
Brewing had been a very insular business until the 1950’s, with few entering management from the outside. As the Big Six began to coalesce in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, the new larger companies began to be managed corporate types, who saw tenants merely as a means to earning a profit, not human assets to be nurtured and treasured. The old paternalism went out of the window.
Here are some tables.
|Courage assets in 1953|
|Fixtures and Fittings||£1,058,331||7.89%|
|Freehold and Leasehold Properties||£7,105,431||52.96%|
|Premium, Acquisition Sub-Shares||£1,378,633||10.28%|
|Sundry Debtors & Loans||£746,633||5.56%|
|Cash at Bank and in hand||£515,561||3.84%|
|Deb Stock Sinking Fund (Sub)||£63,847||0.48%|
|Brewery Manual 1953-1954, page 111.|
|Charrington assets in 1953|
|Freehold and Leasehold Properties||£13,498,527||69.05%|
|Brewing & Bottling Plant & Rolling Stock||£1,536,736||7.86%|
|Loans on Mortgage||£92,735||0.47%|
|Book Debts and Rents receivable||£1,373,283||7.02%|
|Stock of Beer, etc||£1,726,936||8.83%|
|Brewery Manual 1953-1954, page 103.|
|Barclay Perkins assets in 1953|
|Properties and Equipment||£9,083,319||72.01%|
|Cash Invests. (Deb Trustees)||£20,795||0.16%|
|Stocks on hand||£1,487,078||11.79%|
|Trade Debtors, etc, less Provisions||£770,033||6.10%|
|Cash at Bankers and in hand, ete,||£521,339||4.13%|
|Tax Reserve Certificates||£86,000||0.68%|
|Brewery Manual 1953-1954, page 73.|
More financial stuff to come, I’m afraid.