Friday, 15 July 2016

Hammonds – a well-equipped organisation

Back to Hammonds again. And another annual report.

In the immediate post-war years Hammonds was expanding rapidly, buying seven breweries between 1946 and 1950. After which there was a break until 1956, presumably while they consolidated those acquisitions. Which is what they seem to have been doing in 1954.

A well-equipped organisation

The 64th Annual Ordinary General Meeting of Hammonds United Breweries. Ltd., was held yesterday in Bradford, Mr. H. L. Bradfer-Lawrence (Chairman and Joint Managing Director) presiding.
The following the statement the chairman circulated with the Report and Accounts:—

Our trade during the past year has followed the now familiar trend of recent years; the output bottled beers continuing to increase and draught beers to decrease slightly. Although this "change over" tendency appears to be gathering momentum, however slowly. It Is impossible to forecast for how long or to what extent it will continue. Trade from October 1, 1953, up to the time writing these observations, has been increasingly good throughout the area of the group’s operation, and it is to be hoped this increase will continue. Licensed premises now number 873.”
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 26 January 1954, page 7.

A move from draught to bottled beer was a typical 1950’s experience. Between 1950 and 1960 bottled beer increased its share of sales from 33% to 36%.

Most breweries didn’t just provide beer to their pubs, but also wines and spirits and soft drinks. It could be a nice little earner, especially if a brewery produced its own soft drinks, which many did. Holes in Newark had a plant for making soft drinks around the back of the brewery. Hudoris was the brand they sold them under. That ended after Courage took over.

“Our sales of wines and spirits also increased, and it may be of interest to shareholders to note that the turnover in these lines, together with mineral waters, largely manufactured by two of our subsidiaries, with other small ancillary items, now approaches £1,500,000 annually. The group balance from trading account at £613,961 was some £26,000 higher than the year before. In spite of increased manufacturing costs. However, after allowing for increased taxation, your company's net profit comes out at about the same figure as last year. Some shareholders may be disappointed that your directors propose to pay the same dividend (20 per cent.) as has been paid for the last six years, and that no increase the total distribution is proposed, particularly since a number of other brewery companies, recording results similar to our own, have recently increased their dividends. Your directors, however, feel that the need to conserve resources at this time is paramount.”
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 26 January 1954, page 7.

Hammonds was a healthily profitable company. I assume that they wanted to conserve resources to have cash for improving their pubs and finance further acquisitions.

Balance-sheet features
Little comment is necessary on the balance-sheets of the parent company and the group. There have been some accretions to the fixed assets and the excess of net current assets is improved: while the increase in cash largely reflects some slight reduction in the values of the stocks effected during the year. Reference was made last year to the strength of the reserves and it is perhaps worth noting that the capital reserves and revenue reserves of the parent company are now nearly 2.5 millions, against a nominal Ordinary capital of £774,900.”
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 26 January 1954, page 7.

It sounds as if their share capital was far too low. Shouldn’t it have reflected more closely the company’s assets?

With little building work allowed during and after the war, most breweries had a huge backlog of maintenance. And many pubs had been damaged by German bombing.

“As was forecast last year, our expenditure on maintenance and improvements to our licensed premises following, the easing of building licences, was higher in the year under review. It is pleasing to be able to report the opening on December 18 last of the "Cocked Hat,” Scunthorpe, the first "part-permanent” public house to be erected by the group since pre-war days. The term "part-permanent" means a building which will be extended to the full planned size as building licences permit: a vastly preferable method to the erection of temporary premises which have been authorised in some other areas where the planning permission is for a limited period of years only, and the owners will ultimately be faced with the double cost of tearing down the temporary building and rebuilding a second time. I would remind shareholders that we did open an entirely new public house soon after the war, one of the first in the country — the ”Maypole" on the Brackenhall Estate, Huddersfield — but in that case the bare carcase of the building had been practically finished in 1939 and subsequently repositioned. We are hopeful that building licences will soon be granted for similar work on other sites.”
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 26 January 1954, page 7.

New pubs were need  to replace ones destroyed during the war and to service new housing estates. It was the last great period of pub building. Though many of the new estate pubs have since closed. The Maypole seems to have turned into a particularly rough pub and was eventually bought and closed by the council.

I love the term “part-permanent”.

Plant reconstruction
We can report at last some concrete progress towards major plant reconstruction. The new chilling and conditioning plant for bottled beer at Tadcaster Brewery is nearing completion and will be operating next month. The recent announcement of a material increase in the licence-free limit for industrial building works will enable us to follow up this installation by making a start on the building and equipping of a new bottling store at Tadcaster complementary to it; with consequent savings in overheads and transport costs. Further improvements to manufacturing plant and premises were effected during the year, and others are contemplated during the coming year.”
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 26 January 1954, page 7. 

The Tadcaster brewery was very important for Hammonds and was to become its main brewery in Yorkshire. Which explains why they were investing so heavily in it. And it’s the only one of the breweries Hammonds owned at the time that’s still open.


Unknown said...

Hi Ron ,
Just wondered why there's no reference to the Guards Ale fiasco in your article?,
Best Regards

Ron Pattinson said...


the Guards Ale disaster happened a few years later.

Unknown said...

Thanks for that Ron, wasn't quite sure of the dates on the Guards Ale fiasco. I've got an oddball recipe , and a Government Ale you from my company (Magee Marshall & Co) , if you drop me an email @ , I'll forward a photo of the pages notes on percentages etc,
Best Regards
Edd Mather