The figures come from a random article I stumbled upon. Weirdly, it’s a review of a directory: Kelly's Post Office Guide to London in 1871. A rather odd book to review, but it has provided me with some handy statistics.
In the second half of the 19th century the UK exported around half a million barrels of beer a year. Which sounds like a lot. But given that beer production was 25 to 30 million barrels, it means exports were no more than 2% of the total.
Unsurprisingly, a majority of UK beer exports went to parts of the British Empire. The two biggest export markets – India and Australia and New Zealand – took more than half the total. The biggest markets outside of the empire were, unsurprisingly the USA and, rather more surprisingly, Brazil. Add the beer exported to former Spanish colonies in South America and you get close to 40,000 barrels. The figures for Uruguay, Argentina and Chile are approximate. The article just says 6,000 – 7,000 barrels a year for each.
The West Indies always imported a lot of beer compared to their modest size. The favourites here were Strong Ale (often from Scotland) and Strong Stout. To India, obviously, there was a lot of IPA sent, but also rather more Porter. While Australia imported a broad range of British beers.
Not a lot of British beer made its way to continental Europe. Not that it ever did, really, until after WW I when Belgium became a major destination.
London was a major source of exports, particularly in the form of Porter and Stout. The article states that in 1860 80% of exports left through London. Which isn’t to say that all of that beer was brewed in London. A large proportion would have been Pale Ale transported down to London by train and then loaded onto ships.
|UK beer exports in 1869|
|Australia and New Zealand||109,466||21.00%|
|the Cape and Natal||12,054||2.31%|
|British West Indies||26,833||5.15%|
|Total British Empire||343,128||65.83%|
|China, including Hong Kong||13,623||2.61%|
|Brewers' Guardian, vol. 1, 1869, July 1871, page 205.|