Benskins is a good example of a medium-sized brewery, of which there were still a large number in the 1940s. I’ve selected them pretty much at random.
Their story parallels the vicissitudes of the UK brewing industry in the 1930s and 1940s. The dip in profits in 1932 was typical. In 1931 there was an increase in the tax on beer which had a dramatic effect on beer consumption and, with it, brewery profits.
After the tax increase was rolled back in 1933, trade picked up and this is reflected in a modest increase in profits, which then stabilised at around £250,000 until the start of the war. Dividend also picked up, from a low of 10% in 1932 to 18.5% when war erupted.
Despite massive increases in the price of malt and the rate of tax, after a small dip in 1940, profits rose steadily throughout the war, peaking in 1947. The dividend rose to 20% in 1944 and remained there until 1949. The fall in profits in 1948 and 1949 reflects the difficult economic circumstances in post-war austerity Britain and falling beer consumption.
Post-war profits were boosted by a refund of the wartime Excess Profits Tax, which in 1946 amounted to £67,001.
During the war, Bekskins were able to build up considerable reserves of cash: £525,000 for general purposes and £265,000 for repairs and improvements to their tied houses.
The war, despite all the difficulties it brought with it, was good for Benskins financially, as it was for the industry in general. The cash reserves would have been very useful post-war, as very little investment could be made in either the brewery or tied houses during hostilities due to restrictions on building work and the impossibility of sourcing new equipment.
|Benskins Brewery profits 1921 - 1929|
|Year ending 30th Sept.||brought in||net profit||carry forward||to reserve||to reserve for property improvements||dividend ordinary shares|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 01 December 1931, page 13.|
|Herts and Essex Observer - Saturday 03 December 1932, page 4.|
|Aberdeen Press and Journal - Saturday 02 December 1933, page 10.|
|Herts and Essex Observer - Saturday 08 December 1934, page 2.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 29 November 1935, page 14.|
|Aberdeen Press and Journal - Thursday 26 November 1936, page 11.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Thursday 02 December 1937, page 12.|
|Nottingham Journal - Friday 02 December 1938, page 8.|
|Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Tuesday 05 December 1939, page 3.|
|Belfast Telegraph - Tuesday 03 December 1940, page 6.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Thursday 21 November 1940, page 5.|
|The Scotsman - Monday 01 December 1941, page 2.|
|Dundee Courier - Saturday 05 December 1942, page 4.|
|Birmingham Daily Post - Saturday 05 December 1942, page 4.|
|The Scotsman - Saturday 04 December 1943, page 3.|
|The Scotsman - Saturday 20 November 1943, page 2.|
|Western Mail - Friday 24 November 1944, page 4.|
|Halifax Evening Courier - Wednesday 21 November 1945, page 3.|
|The Scotsman - Wednesday 20 November 1946, page 2.|
|The Scotsman - Friday 14 November 1947, page 2.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 13 November 1948, page 5.|
|Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 12 November 1948, page 3.|
|The Scotsman - Tuesday 15 November 1949, page 2.|