Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Guinness exports to the UK 1861 - 1901

As promised, here's a look at Guinness exports to Britain in relation to total Irish beers exports to the UK. It's probably not what uou'd expect. It certainly isn't what I expected.

Because even as late as 1861, Guinness made up less than 50% of Irish beer exports. Though by the time the 19th century ended, they had risen to three-quarters of the total. Why did this happen? How did Guinness come to dominate the English market for Irish Stout?

I think it's all down to branding. One of the interesting features of old newspapers are the adverts for beer. From the 1850s there are plenty of mentions of Dublin Stout. But here's the strange thing: often there's to indication of the brewery that produced it, other than that it was presumably located in Dublin.

There's one exception to this. Guinness. Who are often mentioned by name. It looks to me as if they've taken a generic product - Dublin Stout - and made it their own. Effectively making Guinness synonymous, at least in England, with Dublin Stout.  At least that's my theory.

Guinness exports to the UK 1861 - 1901 (bulk barrels)
Year Guinness Total % Guinness
1861 101,664 255,576 39.78%
1871 191,555 421,952 45.40%
1881 205,759 508,035 40.50%
1891 368,332 691,478 53.27%
1898 387,995 552,942 70.17%
1901 512,945 689,796 74.36%
"A Bottle of Guinness please" by David Hughes, pages 276-279
"Ireland Industrial and Agricultural", 1902, page 457


Martyn Cornell said...

A pedant writes: these weren't "exports to the UK", since until 1922 Dublin was in the UK."Exports to Great Britain", rather.

Be in my solo said...

There are traces of the old Guinness history archived at the way back machine.
The trademark came in 1862, and the massive expansion in James' Gate in 1868.

I'm sure somebody like The Beer Nut can flesh out the acquisitions and consolidation that followed.


The Beer Nut said...

I think it's just a volume thing. Production of Guinness trebled between 1855 and 1865 under the direction of Benjamin Lee, and it's in the 1860s that the big shake-out of Irish breweries starts, as smaller operations can't compete with Guinness's low prices and control of distribution. The brewery's jetty on Victoria Quay, from which beer was shipped directly over to England, was built in 1877. I would say that their dominance of the Irish stout market in England is mere side-effect of them starting to operate on a different scale to other Irish breweries.