Tuesday, 4 December 2018

A Bitter blow

More bad news for drinkers. Well, Bitter drinkers. Seems like it was business as usual if your tipple was Mild.

Because brewers faced a cut in the materials to brew from:
BREWERS have been set bitter problem, and they are returning a mild answer.

By agreement between the Ministry of Food and the brewers there has been a cut of 10 per cent. in the raw materials for brewing.

No further official interference is expected, but as the Government wants to see the maximum output of beer achieved by the brewers, much of that beer must be of the weaker, or mild, variety.

So less bitter beer is to be brewed, and no strong ale at all.

The past year has been the worst in history for the production malting barley.

Problems for the brewer have been increased by the calling up of the technical staff, while the demand for beer has increased, There is grave anxiety as to whether sufficient barley can malted. This means that immediate Government action is necessary there is not to be a shortage of beer in 1942."
Daily Herald - Wednesday 24 December 1941, page 3.
No Strong Ale to be brewed at all? Nightmare.

But was there really a 10% reduction in the use of brewing materials in 1942? Luckily, I have the numbers to hand:

Brewing materials 1938 - 1946 (cwt)
year malt unmalted corn rice, maize, etc sugar total malt & adjuncts hops bulk barrels
1938 9,378,888 14,194 688,086 1,894,773 11,975,941 277,846 24,339,360
1939 9,884,803 9,910 734,771 1,986,478 12,615,962 285,715 25,691,217
1940 9,857,838 7,912 363,588 1,532,776 11,762,114 265,512 24,925,704
1941 10,988,413 11,897 246,757 1,397,642 12,644,709 251,354 28,170,582
1942 10,918,102 52,646 382,207 1,411,422 12,764,377 223,007 29,584,656
1943 10,287,322 40,592 1,238,183 1,400,573 12,966,670 231,589 29,811,321
1944 10,621,168 143,183 1,241,121 1,458,647 13,464,119 243,900 31,380,684
1945 10,435,212 245,751 1,332,032 1,784,064 13,797,059 244,822 31,990,334
1946 9,976,998 137,750 1,132,748 1,790,021 13,037,517 226,197 31,066,950
Brewers' Almanack 1955, page 62.

The short answer is no. Slightly more materials in total were used in 1942 than in 1941. The amounnt of beer produced increased, too. There was a slight fall in the amount of malt used, but this was more than offset by an increase in other materials. There was also a modest increase in the quantity of beer produced. Which you'll note was almost 20% higher than in peacetime.

The total materials used and the quantity of beer brewed continued to increase until the end of the war, when both fell.


Tandleman said...

Had to check my shelf. Thought you'd been in my house and nicked my Boddies showcard!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the big jump in the Rice/Maize column after 1942 partially reflects the collapse of German U Boat fleets.

qq said...

I'd assume that column also includes oats - there was a bumper harvest in 1942 so the government forced brewers to use 10% oats.

I understood the problem was the Luftwaffe bombing maltings in East Anglia - big buildings near transport routes that were often used for military purposes. Is it possible that the malt column also includes unmalted barley?