Friday 13 January 2017

Whitbread’s brewery in 1960 (part four)

There’s rather more text this time.

1960 was a strange time for Whitbread, being just about when it started its bid to become a national brewing force.

“Whitbread's own a large fleet of vehicles which cover over 6,000,000 miles in a year. The vehicles total 513 and range in size from the giant 80-barrel tankers (each holding 2,886 gallons) to the smaller 3-ton lorries carrying draught or bottled beer. In 1954, the Company began their service to the Continent by night ferry and, now, as many as ten tankers a week are shipped from Dover to Dunkirk en route to Belgium. Altogether, Whitbread's beer is exported to sixty-three countries. It is interesting to record that by 1796 their beer was being sent to the Continent, South Africa, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, India and the Far East.”
The Sphere - Saturday 23 July 1960, page 35.

It sounds like Whitbread were using 100% road transport. Fifty years earlier, I’m sure that they would have been shifting the majority of their beer by rail. Though, unlike many breweries, Whitbread never had a rail connection at the brewery itself. That wasn’t possible due to its location in the middle of the city.

Ten 80-barrel tankers a week adds up to around 40,000 barrels over  a year going to Belgium. Though it does say up to ten tankers, Presumably the actual amount sent was less than that.

I’d love to know which those 63 countries were. The USA and Belgium, for sure. Probably France and Italy, too. The rest are anyone’s guess. As Britain still had a fair bit of its empire back then, many export destination were probably British possessions.

“Whitbread's also maintain sixteen horse-drawn drays (with a stable of thirty Shire horses), which deliver beer daily to the Company's public-houses within a three-mile radius of Chiswell Street. The horses, standing 18 hands high, are used each year to haul the Lord Mayor's Coach and, on special ceremonial occasions, the Speaker's Coach.”
The Sphere - Saturday 23 July 1960, page 35.

Doubtless the main reason Whitbread hung onto their shire horses was because of their ceremonial use. Which was naturally great free publicity for the company.

“A great tradition of the Company is their reception of visitors, both from this country and from overseas. In view of the increasing number (last year there were more than 6,000), the Company have transformed part of the Chiswell Street cellars into a reception area.”
The Sphere - Saturday 23 July 1960, page 35.

London’s large breweries had long been a tourist attraction. In the 19th century, when Barclay Perkins was one of the largest breweries in the world, it was one of the must-see sights for those visiting London. Showing visitors around remains an important promotional tool for many breweries.

1 comment:

Lee said...

I am under the impression,from reading crappy old books,that Whitbread beers were sold by middle-man trading companies over here in Thailand.