Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Licensed Houses in Bavaria

The Bavarians have alwyas been a thirsty bunch when it comes to beer. In the 19th century the average Bavarian drank over 300 litres a year. An insane amount.

This interesting letter compares the number of pubs per head of population in the UK and Bavaria. Why mention this? Because at the time temperance lunatics had convinced many in the UK that there were too many pubs. And that the temptations of these pubs were the main cause of drunkenness. Therefore the number of pubs had to be reduced.

This obsession with delicensing as many pubs as possible and at the same time making new licences almost unobtainable were the main reasons the tied house system became so prevalent in the UK. There were a finite number of outlets for beer which needed to be secured if a brewery wanted to sell any beer.

No such problems in Bavaria.
"Licensed Houses in Bavaria.
SIR,-—In your issue of June 11 you publish a statement of licensed houses in England and Wales, which shows that there are 105,484 houses licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquors to be consumed on the premises, and gives an average of one house to 202 persons on the basis of last census (1881).

It may be interesting to the readers of THE BREWERS‘ GUARDIAN to have some information on the same subject with regard to Bavaria, the only other c0untry which, like England, is mainly a beer-consuming one. There were in Bavaria at the end of the year 1888 34,262 houses with permission to sell beer, and, besides these, there were 3,717 retail houses or the sale of spirits, which may more appropriately he called dram-shops. This makes a total of 37,979 licensed houses for a population of 5,420,199, in accordance with the last census (1885), and gives one house for every 145 persons. Off-licences do not exist in Bavaria, and the few traders who sell beer in bottles (generally only of the very best kinds) require no special permission to do so; and wine houses (of which there are a good many) are also not included. Yet we do not hear of such a continual out cry against licences in Bavaria as there is, without intermission, dinned into the ears of the British public. And, although we find here a great difference, in so far as the proportion of 145 to 202 means nearly 28 per cent. more in Bavaria, it would not be difiicult to prove that sobriety is as great in Bavaria as in most other countries, and greater than in some with less consumption of beer, but in reality with more consumption of spirits.

The Bavarian Administration freely grants "concessions," as the licences are called, for the sale of beer, but, as the figures above show, are very care ful in giving permission for the sale of spirits. That has always been so, and was the making of the Bavarian beer industry, and your last number gives ample details of that too. Roundly speaking, beer, especially of the fine, light description now coming generally into use, is quite innocuous, if not taken in excessive quantities; and it may be that the mixed licences contributed a good deal to make beer figure as an intoxicant, instead of a nourishing, refreshing, and inoffensive beverage.
I remain, sir,
Your obedient servant,
June 16."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 201.
The "fine, light" beer the author mentions is probably Light Bitter - stuff like AK. While it was light compared to most other beers of the day, it was still 4.5% - 5% ABV. Not exactly non-intoxicating.

Why wasn't there a call for a reduction in the number of pubs in Bavaria? Because people there hadn't been brainwashed by temperance fanatics.

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