Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Heineken's tied houses

Some think that the tied house system was a specifically British phenomenon. It wasn't. In several countries breweries either leased or owned outright cafes which were then obliged to sell only their beer. Belgium is a good example. But the system was, and in fact still is, practised in Holland.

I think nowadays it's mostly done through loan ties rather than by controlling the premises themselves. The reason I believe it's mostly done through loans is that I know many examples in Amsterdam where the brewery supplying a pub has changed. Mostly changed from Heineken to Inbev.

Though in Holland the tie is only for beer, not spirits. For jenever and other Dutch spirits, nowadays there's usually also a tie to a distiller. Which is why Amsterdam pubs often have two signs hung up outside, one for a brewery and one for a distiller.

This report of a lawsuit gives some insight into how things worked a 100 years or so ago.

Tapping without a licence. One writes from Rotterdam to the Handelsblad:

When the so-called Emergency Act came into effect, the joint-stock companies for exploitation sprang up like mushrooms. The tapping went on regularly until some time ago the commissioner of police ordered an official report to be drawn up against the tappers who retailed hard liquor in an establishment of a joint-stock company.

Thus, in the session of the 2nd Sub-district Court, 16 defendants had to account for themselves as such.

Mr. Th. A. Fruin acted as defender for accused J. Dijkstal, but as he said actually for Heineken's Bierbrouwerij.

The treatment showed that the building in which D. lives is rented from the aforementioned Bierbrouwerij; that although it is the owner of the inventory in most cases, this is not the case in the case of D.; that D. should sell the beer from Heineken's brewery, but that he sells spirits wherever he pleases. He can do this at will in the name of the brewery or in his own name, but always against cash payment. He is not an accounting officer, but has to pay the brewery a fixed amount of f30 per week, plus the costs of the license fee and tax, while most that is earned in the business is counted as his salary as publican.

When asked by the sub-district court to the director of the brewery, the latter says that the only advantage the brewery derives from the case is the profit made on the beer to be supplied.

The officer of the Public Prosecution Service was of the opinion that it has been legally and convincingly proven that the accused is not licensed and taps, while the brewery is licensed and does not tap. He asks a sentence to f 1 or 1 day.

Mr. Fruin, acquiring the word, cannot understand how people, standing in the evening, when they say goodbye to this Liquor Act, still proceed to such prosecutions. He tries to show that the accused is nothing but the brewery's publican and therefore has not committed a criminal offence. A conviction will therefore be unable to follow. He cites as an example the foreign carriage companies which simply provide the coachman with a carriage for a fixed sum, regardless of what the coachman receives.

The speaker cites the new Liquor Act, which prohibits a person from having more than one licence, while a legal person is also denied having that one. What this article was for Heineken can be imagined if one knows that the brewery has 71 permits in its name, pays f 63,150 a year in rent, and the inventories of all those items represent a balance sheet value of f 267,000. She has therefore approached the House of Representatives with an address, with the result that her objections have been met in the transitional articles.

After a rejoinder and a rejoinder, the subdistrict court judge will give the verdict on 20 September.
Het volk: dagblad voor de arbeiderspartij 10-09-1904  

Interesting to know that Heineken already had an estate of 71 pubs in 1904. 

It looks as if Mr. Dijkstal wasn't paying a market rent, as the average monthly rent Heineken was paying for their pubs was 74 guilders a month. More than double what they were charging Mr. Dijkstal.


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