Sunday, 8 July 2018

Porter brewers 200 years on

Barclay Perkins and Whitbread had been two of the biggest names in brewing since the 18th century. But by the mid-1950s, the two companies were headed in opposite directions.

Barlsy Perkins was about to be acquired by Courage - despite what the article below says, it wasn't a merger. While Whitbread was just starting on the road to becoming one of the Big Six. Though if you look reallu longterm both comapnies were headed for extinction.

"Barclay Perkins
THE results of Barclay. Perkins and Company for the year to March 311 last seem to justify the terms of the Proposed merger with Courage and Company. The rates at which the two companies' shares would be exchanged into Ordinary shares in the proposed holding company suggested that Barclay Perkins' distribution ought to be 9.5% instead of the 8% paid in 1953-54. In fact. it is to be 10% for the final dividend has been raised from 6.5% to 8.5%. The company appears to have weathered the decline in beer-drinking in the London area, the wet and cold summer and rising costs with fair success, for trading profits are only 1 £51,000 down at £991,354. The group, however, did extend its interest In the mineral water trade last year.

An increase of £52,000 in the provision for depreciation offsets much of the saving in taxation, which has fallen by £72,000 to £343,996. Net profits attributable to the parent company, therefore, have declined by £31,000 to £244,712 and the 10% distribution is rather thinly covered by earnings of 16.3%. Of the balance, the subsidiaries are retaining £70,344 (£71,141), plus £50,087 of tax credits. But the parent company is putting nothing to general reserve (against £50,000) and the amount carried forward is only £9,000 higher at £197,462."
Birmingham Daily Post - Saturday 25 June 1955, page 19.
 Despite rising living standards, beer production was falling in the early 1950s. The year the above article was written, 1955, it hit its nadir. Not that it bounced back much. It's only in 1960 that it really started to increase significantly.

UK beer production and average OG
Year bulk barrels average OG
1948 30,408,634 1032.66
1949 26,990,144 1033.43
1950 26,513,997 1033.88
1951 24,891,746 1036.99
1952 25,156,489 1037.07
1953 24,883,227 1036.87
1954 24,582,303 1036.97
1955 23,934,215 1037.13
1956 24,551,158 1037.22
1957 24,506,524 1037.42
1958 24,647,978 1037.48
1959 23,783,833 1037.52
1960 26,115,012 1037.25
1955 Brewers' Almanack, pages 50 & 80.
1971 Brewers' Almanack, pages 45 & 75.

"Whitbread Prospects
THE same influences — bad weather, and increases in wages and the cost of repairs - hit Whitbread and Company rather harder than Barclay Perkins, probably because Whitbread had gone further than most brewers in developing sales of the more profitable bottled beers and already had reaped most of the reward in the previous four years. In fact, though consumption of beer in Britain fell by 4.5% last year, Whitbresd held its own. Export sales expand continually and more and more of the other brewers have found it worth their while to handle Whitbread beers.

The group also bas been extending its sales outlets by buying interests in other companies and has been developing its still small wine and spirit business. However. Mr. Whitbread warns stockholders not to be too optimistic about the current year since sales of beer by the industry as a whole have so far been 2% lower than a year ago and he adds that the group must conserve its cash resources, for more money will be required for the development of the group. Finally. Mr. Whitbread criticises some licensees for being too slow to meet competition from cafes and restaurants by offering snacks and meals in their premises. He suggests too, that they should be more willing to encourage sales of beer for consumption at home now that television has become so formidable a competitor with the public-house."
Birmingham Daily Post - Saturday 25 June 1955, page 19.
Whitbread had, indeed, got into the bottled beer business very early. Already when WW I erupted around 50% of their output was bottled.* That's incredibly high for the period. Most breweries would't have bottled more than 10% back then.

Whitbread was one of the few breweries - along with Guinness and Bass - who got their products into other breweries' pubs, Mostly in the form of Mackeson, which was wildly popular in the 1950s.

People didn't really drink at home much at all in the 1950s. Bottled beer was popular, but it was mostly drunk in pubs, not at home.

* Whitbread archive document number LMA/4453/D/02/16

1 comment:

Ed said...

Whitbread is most definitely still around and though no longer brewing it does own some pubs. Mainly it's a hotel and coffee shop company now.