Monday 31 August 2020

Making connections

Now that I've decided to go with the Barclay Perkins in WW II book, I've been dredging the depths of my archive photographs. I've loads of material I've done little or nothing with.

But that wasn't the case with these two documents. Yet I still hadn't noticed the connection between the two.

The first is a brewing record, where these comments appear in the inside cover: 

“SEPT. 11th 1940 Bomb in Park St. outside Engineers Office. Boiler House closed. No injured.
SEPT. 16th 1940 Bomb through Porter Side No. 1 cop. & M.T.
SEPT. 29/30 1940 Bomb through Ale Side Nos. 3, 4, 5 & 6 M.T.s. Nos. 3, 4 & 5 Cop. Ale Side Hop Back.”
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/623.

The last bomb in the Ale side seems to have been pretty serious, with four mash tuns, three coppers and the hop back damaged.

It probably explains the next circular letter. I'd looked at it so many times, as it pinpoints when some beers were discontinued. But I missed one crucial sentence. See if you can spot it.

4th November, 1940.

Dear Sir or Madam,

We are pleased to tell you that on and after Monday 11th November we hope to be able to deliver all your requirements of Draught and Bottled Beers.

Please therefore send your orders to reach us 24 hours before your correct day of delivery (by telephone if possible as the post is uncertain).

Owing to our restricted plant we nave been compelled to limit the number and types of Beers we can supply. The list of Beers we shall supply will be as follows:-


per pint.
Porter 8d
Best Stout 1/-
XX (Mild. Ale Light) 9d
X (Mild Ale Dark) 8d
A Ale 7d
KK Burton 1/-
XLK Bitter 10d
KKKK Old Burton

The Beers mentioned below will be discontinued.

XX (Mild Ale Dark)
X (Mild Ale Light)
P.A. (Best Bitter)    

Yours faithfully,
Barclay Perkins circular letters, held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/521/1.

 What was the sentence? 

"Owing to our restricted plant we have been compelled to limit the number and types of Beers we can supply."

The restricted plant would have been the result of the bomb damage.Which was particularly bad on the Ale side. All three beers which were dropped were Ales. The letter is dated just a few days after the bomb hit.

Sunday 30 August 2020

Difficult times for Barclay Perkins

I've not written a huge amount this week. I've been busy with research. Which can be very time-consuming.

The year ending 31st March was a difficult one for Barclay Perkins. They produced far less beer than in the previous year. And profits were down, too, from 266,000 barrels to 186,000 barrels.

The chairman, Lt.-Col. R. W. Barclay, was downbeat when presenting the company's annual report:

"Subsequent to our last general meeting there has been a marked decline in trade and we can only put this down to the extremely high Excise duty and to economic factors which are beyond our control. Last year, I told you that, in my opinion, penal taxation, and the additional tax in April, 1948, would lead to decrease in trade and this unfortunately has occurred."
The Scotsman - Friday 29 July 1949, page 2.

Moaning about the level of taxation was a recurring theme in brewers' annual reports.

As regards the current year I do not feel optimistic, unless there is drastic reduction in taxation, which may well be to the advantage of the Chancellor of the Exchequer as well as your company. The Catering Wages Act, 1943, has now been made applicable to staff engaged in licensed premises. This affects almost all licensed properties, but particularly those where catering is one of the functions of the business; yet, no less than 95 per cent. of all your company's public houses have catering licences, and continue to supply food to their patrons."
The Scotsman - Friday 29 July 1949, page 2.

Four years after the end of the war, Barclays still had pubs which were too bomb-damaged to operate.

In the past twelve months repairs and improvements to our properties have proceeded at a far greater pace than was possible in the previous year. It is hoped that a relaxation of the regulations connected with the grant of building will enable us not only to continue this work in the coming year, but to make good at least some of the licensed properties which suffered serious war damage and still remain closed."
The Scotsman - Friday 29 July 1949, page 2.

 Basically, the government was to blame for all the company's woes. What with their taxes and petty rules.

On the other hand, there was some good news:

"Some of our pre-war stronger beers have been reintroduced and have proved popular. Restrictions are still in force governing the amount of materials and the average strength of the beer we brew."
The Scotsman - Friday 29 July 1949, page 2.

I believe this referred to the strong Burton Ale, KKKK, and the full-strength version of Russian Stout.

Exports were allowed once more, too:

As I mentioned last year  Government permission has been given to resume our export trade. With the decline in home trade, some additional materials have been made available for export, and I am glad to say that our export trade has improved; we hope for more freedom to enable us to meet demands from overseas."
The Scotsman - Friday 29 July 1949, page 2.

Based on what I've seen in brewing records, the export beers were a Pale Ale and one or maybe two Stouts. Plus, of course, the Lager called Sparkling Beer. 

Barclay Perkins and UK production and average OG 1945 - 1955
Year ending 31st March BP Bulk barrels brewed UK Bulk barrels brewed % of total Average BP gravity Average UK gravity % difference
1945 456,596 31,332,852 1.46% 1034.43 1034.54 0.3%
1946 485,431 32,650,200 1.49% 1034.69 1034.72 0.1%
1947 419,310 29,261,398 1.43% 1031.94 1032.59 2.0%
1948 455,773 30,408,634 1.50% 1033.16 1032.66 -1.5%
1949 367,691 26,990,144 1.36% 1033.88 1033.43 -1.3%
1950 325,382 26,513,997 1.23% 1033.92 1033.88 -0.1%
1951 277,895 24,891,746 1.12% 1036.53 1036.99 1.3%
1952 262,404 25,156,489 1.04% 1035.78 1037.07 3.6%
1953 247,897 24,883,227 1.00% 1035.46 1036.87 4.0%
1954 242,507 24,582,303 0.99% 1035.6 1036.97 3.8%
1955 228,343 23,934,215 0.95% 1036.25 1037.13 2.4%
Brewers' Almanack 1955, p. 50.
Brewers' Almanack 1962, p. 48.
Brewing notebook A-H held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/711/1.

Saturday 29 August 2020

Let's Brew - 1939 William Younger XXPS

XXPS was William Younger’s standard Bitter for many years. It remained a mainstay of the brewery long after WW II. It was still around when I started drinking, when, in England, it was often sold as Scotch Bitter. In Scotland, it would have been called either 70/- or Heavy.

A the outbreak of WW II it had the very respectable gravity of 1046º, which placed it in the same strength category as a 7d per pint London Bitter, beers like Whitbread PA or Barclay Perkins XLK.

Though there was one big difference with XXPS: the level of hopping. Both PA and XLK were hopped at 7.5 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt.  While XXPS contained a mere 3 lbs of hops per quarter. That’s a very large difference. And is reflected in the big difference in the calculated IBUs. The Whitbread and Barclay Perkins Bitters both come out to 29 IBUs, as opposed to the 12 of XXPS. Even the Ordinary Milds of the two London brewers had around double the level of bitterness.

The grist is much the same as for the bulk of Younger’s beers: pale malt and grits. Though the proportion of grits was much lower than it had been earlier in the interwar period, when it had been as high as 45%.

The hops were also pretty much the same for all their beers: all from Kent and from the 1937 and 1938 harvests.

1939 William Younger XXPS
pale malt 9.00 lb 83.72%
grits 1.75 lb 16.28%
Fuggles 90 min 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1046
FG 1015
ABV 4.10
Apparent attenuation 67.39%
IBU 13
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 60.5º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

Friday 28 August 2020

Brewery Profits

Here's a real shock - breweries were doing well during the war. Who would have thought it?

Barclay Perkins were doing nicely, at least according to the newspaper.

"Brewery Profits
Annual reports now being issued by various brewery companies confirm market views that the industry is thriving. Brewery stocks and shares have been extensively bought in markets for some time and the section is maintaining a good tone while other industrials are inclined to slip back. A report for the year to March 31 last is issued by Barclay Perkins & Company, the London brewery, which has already announced a 6 per cent. Ordinary dividend for the year against 5 per cent for 1942 and 3.5% per cent for 1941. The profit last year was £125,002, after making provision for depreciation, Government taxation, Debenture interest and providing for deferred repairs. A comparative figure for the previous year was £116,739. The tax provision was £231,448 against £230,007 while deferred repairs received £100,000 against £60,000. After providing for dividend and again transferring £30,000 for contingency, the carry forward is £105,109 against £104,360 brought in. The chairman, Lt-Col. Robert W. Barclay, states that brewing materials during The year were costly but the maximum price for  barley was controlled, which prevented the abnormal prices paid in the previous year. He adds that nearly everything purchased for the brewing and distribution of beer was at a high price. Despite this, the past year was more normal than some since 1939. Difficulty was experienced in keeping plant and machinery in an efficient state, particularly bottling machinery, owing to the difficulty of obtaining spare parts. The balance-sheet shows stocks of beer, malt hops, &c, at £612,016, against £387,035 the previous year. The increase is due to higher duties and a reflection is seen in the cash position at £199,026, against £208,450. The £1 Ordinary stand at 28s 9d."
The Scotsman - Friday 13 August 1943, page 2.

A net profit of £125,002 might sound impressive, but in 1939 the figure was £317,788. So why did the newspaper say how well they were doing?

Here are the fixed prices for barley which was mentioned in the article.

Controlled prices for barley
Year  Price on Farm  Merchants' Comm.
1942 140/- 2/6d. limit 5/-
1943 110/- 2/6d. limit 5/-
1944 100/- 2/- limit 5/-
1945 100/- 2/- limit 5/-
1946 101- 2/- limit 4/-
1947 105/10d. 2/6d. limit 5/-
1948 120/- 2/6d. limit 5/-
Brewing notebook A-H held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/711/1.



Thursday 27 August 2020

Holyrood Brewery beers before WW II

William Younger’s second brewery, Holyrood, was built in the 1860s.  Intended to be a Pale Ale brewery, it was fitted with union sets.  

On the eve of WW II, Holyrood was, indeed, almost exclusively churning out Pale Ales of various descriptions. The only exception being an occasional batch of No. 3.

Only three Pale Ales were produced at both breweries: XP Btlg, XXP Btlg and XXPS. LAE, XXPS Btlg and Pale XXPS were exclusive to the Abbey Brewery. While P, P Btlg, Pale 3 (IPA Pale), XP and XXP only emanated from Holyrood. Simple, isn’t it?

Once again, the OGs fit quite well into the 4d, 5d, 6d, 7d and 8d per pint gravity bands. Ext – which I assume stands for “Export – was about as strong as UK Pale Ales got in the 1930s. At least ones intended for domestic consumption.

Don’t be fooled by the apparently poor degree of attenuation. That’s a cleansing gravity rather than a real FG or even a racking gravity. I know from analyses of beers as sold that the rate of attenuation was really higher.
At under 5lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt, the hopping rate is feeble. In London Pale Ales were hopped at a rate 7.25 - 10 lbs per quarter by Whitbread  and 7.5 lbs by Barclay Perkins.

Dry hopping is on the low side, too, just 2-3 ozs per barrel. In 1939, Barclay Perkins Pale Ales received 3-6 ozs.

There weren’t a lot of ingredients involved. Every beer had pretty much the same grist: 64% pale malt, 36% grits. And they all contained exactly the same types of hops. It’s ludicrously simple.

William Younger Holyrood Beers in 1938
Date Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl dry hops (oz / barrel)
17th Oct P 1033.5 1011 2.98 67.16% 3.00 0.38 1.93
5th Jul XP 1037 1012 3.31 67.57% 3.00 0.42 2.14
19th Oct XP Btlg 1037 1012 3.31 67.57% 4.81 0.67 1.99
20th Oct P Btlg 1042 1010 4.23 76.19% 4.83 0.75 1.98
18th Oct XXP 1043 1013 3.97 69.77% 3.18 0.52 1.99
20th Oct XXP Btlg 1043 1011 4.23 74.42% 4.83 0.77 2.03
17th Oct XXPS 1048 1015 4.37 68.75% 3.29 0.69 2.31
5th Jul Pale 3 (IPA Pale) 1055 1017 5.03 69.09% 4.25 0.89 3.03
6th Jul Ext 1055 1017 5.03 69.09% 4.84 1.00 2.55
8th Jul 3 1055 1018 4.89 67.27% 3.25 0.69 2.05
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/3/77.

William Younger Holyrood ingredients in 1938
Date Beer OG pale malt grits hops
17th Oct P 1033.5 64.00% 36.00% Kent (1936), Oregon (1937)
5th Jul XP 1037 64.00% 36.00% Kent (1936), Oregon (1937)
19th Oct XP Btlg 1037 62.96% 37.04% Kent (1936), Oregon (1937)
20th Oct P Btlg 1042 63.33% 36.67% Kent (1936), Oregon (1937)
18th Oct XXP 1043 63.24% 36.76% Kent (1936), Oregon (1937)
20th Oct XXP Btlg 1043 63.33% 36.67% Kent (1936), Oregon (1937)
17th Oct XXPS 1048 63.64% 36.36% Kent (1936), Oregon (1937)
5th Jul Pale 3 (IPA Pale) 1055 65.00% 35.00% Kent (1936), Oregon (1937)
6th Jul Ext 1055 61.29% 38.71% Kent (1936), Oregon (1937)
8th Jul 3 1055 65.00% 35.00% Kent (1936), Oregon (1937)
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/3/77.

Wednesday 26 August 2020

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1915 Courage Porter

Like all London Porter breweries, Courage brewed a range of Porter and Stout. We’re going to step through the set from 1915.

Don’t expect hugely differing recipes. That’s not the way breweries worked. They operated in a much simpler way. Through parti-gyling they’d spin several different-strength beers from a single recipe.

In addition to the classic pale, brown, black malt bend, there’s also some sugar. I’ve guessed No. 4 invert, as that was the type usually intended for Stout. In the brewing record what it says is Sacc. SM. My money is on that standing for “Stout Mix”. Which would definitely imply something along the lines of No. 4.

The gravity of 1050º is about typical for a pre-WW I London Porter. Early in the war, not much changed.  And this was brewed in March 1915, less than one year in.

1915 Courage Porter
pale malt 6.75 lb 60.00%
brown malt 2.25 lb 20.00%
black malt 1.00 lb 8.89%
No. 4 invert 1.25 lb 11.11%
Fuggles 90 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.00 oz
Hallertau 30 mins 1.00 oz
OG 1050
FG 1018
ABV 4.23
Apparent attenuation 64.00%
IBU 36
SRM 46
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 181º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 64º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

This recipe is in my wonderful book, Let's Brew!:

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Barclay Perkins get off lightly

When searching for brewery names in newspaper archives, most of the articles you find fall into a couple of categories: horrible industrial accidents and fires.

Occasionally, you'll s description of a visit to the brewery. Though they often read like infomercials.

I suppose the following sort of falls into the industrial accident category. Well, it was an accident. And on premises owned by the brewery.

 "Trap" at Streatham
£l70 for Lady Who Fell
A lady customer who M 1 down some steps into a cellar at the Horse and Groom public-house, High-road, Streatham, was awarded £l70 agreed damages at Wandsworth County Court, on Thursday. She was Mrs. Alice Elizabeth Mills, Wavertree-road, Streatham, and she sued Barclay Perkins and Co. Ltd., Park street, Southwark, in respect of the accident, which was alleged to have been caused through negligence on the part of defendants in not sufficiently indicating to customers in the bar the door leading into the cloak room.

Mrs. Mills was precipitated into a coal cellar, and her right shoulder was dislocated. A doctor said there was likely to be a permanent disability in the arm.

Judge Haydon. K.C., said he visited the Horse and Groom in circumstances as favourable to defendants as could be. It was evidently a place that did a good trade. He had no difficulty in coming to the conclusion that there was a breach of implied warranty that the premises were in as safe a condition as they could reasonably be made.

"I considered it a trap." he added, "and can perfectly well understand this old lady falling into it without any negligence on her part."

Counsel then announced that the parties had come to terms.

The Judge: I think that Messrs. Barclay Perkins have got off lightly.
Norwood News - Friday 28 June 1940, page 2.

£l70 wasn't so bad. In 1940 that would have bought you almost 6,000 pints of Best Mild. Enough to keep you going for several months. Assuming your arm wasn't so knacked that you couldn't lift a pint glass. That would be annoying. Drinking Mild through a straw just wouldn't be the same.

The Horse and Groom is still trading:

Horse & Groom
60 Streatham High Rd,
London SW16 1DA,
United Kingdom.

Monday 24 August 2020

A tough year for barclay Perkins

 The last full year of peace wasn't a great one for Barclay Perkins, with profits declining.

 Though the analysts weren't too pessimistic about the company's long-term prospects.

"Barclay Perkins
No surprise was occasioned by the decline in the profits of Barclay Perkins & Co., brewers, published overnight, for the year's dividend of 6 per cent., compared with 8 per cent., previously announced, had prepared shareholders for some decline in earnings. The gross profits for the year ended March 31st last amount to £400,622, in comparison with £431,959 twelve months ago. While the Company has probably continued to experience an increase in turnover, the higher cost of brewing materials have doubtless had some thing to do with the lower profits now returned. This applies especially to the purchase of the new barley crop last year at a very much higher price than in the previous accounting period, the full effects of which would be felt during this year just concluded. Moreover, the undertaking is expending large sums on rebuilding and improving licensed premises, which must have an effect on the cash resources, though at the same time the avoidance of fresh borrowing strengthens the financial structure. After providing for depreciation and other charges including £13,000 for tax and N.D.C., compared with £15,000, it is proposed to pay at this time a final of 4 per cent. on the Ordinary capital, making, as already stated, 6 per cent. for the year, against 8 per cent. The carry-forward is up from £70,525 to £74,580. The Company has an excellent record, and the present decline in profits may be regarded as only temporary."
The Scotsman - Thursday 22 June 1939, page 2.  

There was indeed a hike in the price of barley in 1939, as you can see here. But things didn't get any better in later years, as the war caused barley imports to dry up and the price skyrocketed. In 1941, barley was almost six times as expensive as in 1938.

The increase was so great that the government felt compelled to step in and control the price of barley. This intervention stabilised the cost in the latter war years. It must have helped that domestic barley production more than doubled over the course of the war.

Barley Home Production and imports 1934 - 1945
      Average Price per Cwt.  
Year ended 31st Dec. Acreage Estimated Produce Cwts. s. d. Imports Cwts.
1934 959,282 16,708,000 8 2 15,476,301
1935 871,272 14,700,000 8 1 17,097,486
1936 894,000 14,640,000 9 9.25 18,294,415
1937 906,000 13,160,000 11 8.5 18,176,124
1938 988,000 18,080,000 7 9.75 19,875,622
1939 1,013,000 17,840,000 14 7.75 13,739,923
1940 1,339,000 22,080,000 20 63 9,146,255
1941 1,475,000 22,880,000 43 7 1,276,772
1942 1,528,000 28,920,000 34 3.5 34
1943 1,786,000 32,900,000 27 6.75 -
1944 1,973,000 35,040,000 24 8.25 -
1945 1,984,000 37,660,000 24 6 2,036,552
"Brewers' Almanack 1955", page 66. 

On the upside, Barclay Perkins production was on the increase:

Barclay Perkins output 1936 - 1040
Year ending 31st March malt used Qrs flaked & maize used Qrs Sugar used Qrs hops used cwts Bulk barrels brewed
1936 45,028.625 6,203 15,984 3,948 378,084
1937 45,278.0 5,735 16,810.75 3,936 386,700
1938 46,856.75 7,491 16,521.25 4,091 406,310
1939 46,421.125 7,881 16,079 4,064 404,777
1940 46,108.25 4,878 15,397 3,853 388,144
Brewing notebook A-H held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/711/1.

Though the war would seriously disrupt the company's business. Sometimes in a very direct way. For example, when the brew house was hit by bombs.

Sunday 23 August 2020

Barclay Perkins Gravities in November 1922

When visiting archives, I mostly concentrate on brewing records. But there's all sorts of other material, some of it packed with goodies.

I got into a routine of always photographing one document which wasn't a brewing book on every visit. Which is why I have pictures of something called "Brewing notebook A-H", A.H. presumably being the initials of a brewer.

It's packed with all sorts of handy stuff: the control prices of barley in WW II, Bass wholesale prices in 1920, the cost price of BBS Export from 1912 to 1919, barrels brewed 1913 to 1955, coal usage 1905 to 1955, brewing materials used 1920 to 1945, quantity of finings per beer in 1921, the price paid for spent grains 1902 to 1952 and much more.

I was having a look through it yesterday in the hope of finding details of the configuration of the brew house. To be specific, the number of mash tuns and coppers they had. I wanted to see how bad the bomb damage was in September 1940, when the brew house took a couple of hits.

 I didn't find that, buy I did come across this very useful table , which shows the gravities of all their beers, plus details of the primings and their effect.

Barclay Perkins Gravities in November 1922
Price minimum Regulation Gravity Mark Brewed Gravity Sweet added Original Gravity Actual Declared Gravity Original Gravity according to Declared Gravities
5d 1027 Ale 5d 1030.2 1 qrt @ 1130 1030.8 1029 1029.6
6d 1033 XLK(C) 1034.2 NIL 1034.2 1033 1033
6d 1033 TT 1034.2 6 qrts @ 1130 1038.1 1033 1037
7d 1039 XLK(B) 1040.2 NIL 1040.2 1039 1039
7d 1039 X 1041.4 3 qrts @ 1130 1044 1041 1042.83
8d 1046 Lager Home 1045.2 NIL 1045.2 1044 1044
8d 1046 XLK(T) 1047.2 NIL 1047.2 1046 1046
8d 1046 L.S. 1047.2 3 qrts @ 1130 1048 1046 1047.7
8d 1046 O.M.S. 1051.2 3 qrts @ 1130 1052.8 1050 1051.6
9d 1054 B.S. (T) 1055.2 4 qrts @ 1130 1957.2 1054 1056
9d 1054 R.N.S. 1055.2 3 qrts @ 1130 1056.7 1054 1055.5
9d 1054 K.K. 1055.2 1 qrt @ 1130 1044.7 1054 1054.5
9d 1054 IBS 1061.2 3 qrts @ 1130 1062.6 1060 1061.4
9d 1054 K.K.K. 1082.2 NIL 1082.2 1081 1081
9d 1054 K.K. Bottling 1070.2 NIL 1070.2 1069 1069
9d 1054 Lager Sp Dark 1058.2 NIL 1058.2 1057 1057
Export   Lager Export 1050.3 NIL 1050.3 1050 1050
Export   XLK EX 1049.2 NIL 1049.2 1048 1048
Export   P.A. 1059.2 NIL 1059.2 1058 1058
Export   B.S.c 1066.2 3 qrts @ 1150 1067.9 1065 1066.7
Export   XMAS B.S.c 1076.2 3 qrts @ 1150 1077.5 1075 1976.5
Export   B.B.S. EX 1080.2 NIL 1080.2 1079 1079
Export   I.B.S. EX 1103.2 NIL 1103.2 1102 1102
Brewing notebook A-H held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/711/1.

In case you're wondering, "minimum Regulation Gravity" refers to the last set if price controls, where beer retailing for a certain price had to fit into a gravity band. For some beers, the primings significantly increased the OG, For example, TT (Porter), which by almost 4º.

The table also told me that Barclay Perkins breed a Christmas version of Best Stout. Never stumbled across that in the brewing records.