Sunday, 27 June 2021

German beer in WW II

I've been spoilt by the Whitbread Gravity Book. It provides such a wonderful window on UK beer for a big chunk of the 20th century. There's even a fair amount of foreign beer mixed in, mostly imported Lagers. But it leaves some big holes.

While there's a smattering of German beers from before and after the war, for obvious reasons there's nothing for the years of the conflict. Short of getting my hands on a cache of brewing records from German breweries, I didn't see any way I could fill in that gap. But, thanks to Heineken, I can.

Because Heineken was so keen on keeping an eye on the products of competitors that they didn't let a little thing like a world-spanning conflagration get in the way of their industrial espionage. Before the horridness kicked off, they weren't just checking up on Dutch rivals. Having a big trade in the Far East, they were also spying on colonial brewers.

That all stopped after the German occupation. They did, however, analyse beers from one other country: Germany.

Where they acquired these beers is unclear. From adverts in Dutch newspapers, I know that German beer was available in some pubs in Holland. The ones frequented by the Germans and their local fascist mates. I'm guessing that somehow Heineken acquired some samples via this route. Not sure why they were so interested in German beer, as it wasn't really un direct competition with their products.

You can see that the war had impacted the strength of German beer. Especially bearing in mins this was the stuff brewed for the German armed forces. Civilians back home had to endure far more watery beer. Though it's around the same strength as the beer Heineken was brewing for the Dutch market. In June 1941 Heineken Pils was 10º Plato, early in 1942, 7.6º Plato.

If the Paulaner and Dortmunder Kronen from 1941 look suspiciously similar, it's probably because they are the same beer. It's noted that they were both bottled by the same bottler.

German beer in WW II
Date Year Brewer Town Beer OG Plato FG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation Colour
6th Mar 1941 Dortmunder Union Dortmund Dortmunder 11.54 3.18 4.35 73.35% 0.52
6th Mar 1941 Dortmunder Union Dortmund Pilsener 10.03 2.83 3.73 72.59% 0.48
6th Jun 1941 Paulaner Munich Helles 9.86 2.46 3.83 75.78% 0.52
6th Jun 1941 Dortmunder Kronen Dortmund Dortmunder 9.86 2.46 3.79 75.78% 0.52
9th Jun 1941 Dortmunder Union Dortmund Dortmunder 10.09 2.21 4.06 78.78% 0.48
5th Aug 1941 Schultheiss-Patzenhofer Berlin Pilsener 10.66 2.39 3.76 78.31% 0.5
27th Jan 1942 Janssen Hamburg Export Tafelbier 11.31 3.12 4.24 73.30% 0.4
27th Jan 1942 Dressla Bremen Export 8.35 1.83 3.35 78.65% 0.28
27th Jan 1942 Bavaria Brauerei Altona Pils 10.01 2.02 4.11 80.46% 0.4
27th Jan 1942 Schultheiss Berlin Helles 8.24 2.56 2.90 69.63% 0.4
27th Jan 1942 Schloss-Cabinet Berlin Export 8.16 2.22 3.04 73.44% 0.3
29th Jan 1942 Bavaria Brauerei Altona Export 8.00 1.79 3.18 78.18% 0.35
29th Jan 1942 Bavaria Brauerei Altona Export 8.03 1.67 3.25 79.73% 0.45
30th Jan 1942 Holsten Bremen Export 10.04 2.28 4.03 77.99% 0.3
30th Jan 1942 Beck Bremen Export 8.62 2.24 3.26 74.67% 0.3
13th Mar 1942 DAB Dortmund Export 7.31 2.06 2.70 72.41% 0.58
13th Mar 1942 Dünckler & Rüppert   Export 7.27 1.85 2.75 75.10% 0.38
Rapporten van laboratoriumonderzoeken naar producten van Heinekenbrouwerijen in binnen- en buitenland en naar producten van andere brouwerijen held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 834 - 1794.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Based on the way they were divining German troop deployments from delivery stats, I'm not surprised they were analyzing German beers for any information they could get. They seem to have been a hyper-analytical place.

At a minimum, I wouldn't be surprised if they were double checking for evidence of German malt supplies to make sure they weren't being short changed.