Monday 4 October 2021

German beer (part four)

Yet more about German beer imports into Holland during WW II.

The following question - which must have been posed by the German authorities - was in German, as was the Dutch brewers' reply.

"1. Import of German beer.
What are the wishes regarding the import and export of beer on the Dutch side?

The following was answered in writing: 

A. The beer imported into the Netherlands will be:

1. in a calendar year be not more than 25,000 H.L.,
2. have an original wort gravity which is not higher than the maximum percentage that is permitted for Dutch beer,
3. be subject to the same sales regulations as the local beer (possible rationing, customer protection)."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 8th May 1941, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 31121-1, page 158.

It's very much a summation of the CBK (the Dutch brewers' association) attitude to German imports. Basically, they didn't want German beer to have any advantage over Dutch beer. And only be imported in limited quantities. Relations still seem to have been quite cordial between the German authorities and the Dutch brewers. A couple of years later there would have been more demanding than asking questions.

I'd wondered why Heineken analysed Patzenhofer. Here's the answer:

"C. Import of German beer.
The speaker put forward that the C.B.K has the impression that considerably more beer is being imported than corresponds to the agreed quantity of 25,000 hl. The Speaker mentioned the Patzenhofer Brauerei as an example, which had never before imported into the Netherlands, but now suddenly appears here on the market.

Mr. Abraham made some announcements from which it could be calculated that the import amounted to an annual quantity of more than 50,000 hl. The German side then informed them that the Ausfuhrgemeinschaft in Germany only allows exports to certain breweries for which a limited quantity of raw materials is made available, which amounts to 140,000 - 150,000 hl. per year, which must be used for export to various countries. It was suspected, however, that some breweries are now exporting at the expense of their domestic turnover, which matter will be discussed in Berlin. Mr. Abraham suggested that the Ausfuhrgemeinschaft specify how much beer each of the recognized export breweries is allowed to import into the Netherlands each month to facilitate control by the Meelcentrale. The German authorities did not consider such a check on imports appropriate. The only solution was seen in the introduction of a Kundenschutz, which would then apply to both Dutch and imported bier.

The speaker replied that he was generally an opponent of Kundenschutz, but that he had no objection to this under the present circumstances, even if this would entail very great difficulties. The speaker added that there are breweries that cannot agree with Kundenschutz.

Finally, it was agreed that Co Haupt-vereinigung (Ausfuhrgemeinschaft) will be proposed by the German gentlemen to limit beer imports to the Netherlands in the months May to December 1941 at 37,500 hl. (this quantity was increased in proportion to the increase in domestic turnover in the Netherlands) in connection with the supply of raw materials to German breweries. This will be further announced. The Meelcentrale will check the imports."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 5th June 1941, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 31121-1, pages 125 - 126.

How crazy was it to be shipping beer from Patzenhofer - based in Berlin - all the way to Holland? Didn't the Germans have more pressing need of transport than shipping beer around the place?

I'm amazed that German beer was being exported to multiple countries. Again, what a waste of limited transport. And of raw materials, with regard to domestic production. No wonder they lost the war.

 In the UK zoning was introduced to limit unnecessary movement of beer internally in the UK


Michael Foster said...

Do you have a post on the zoning in the UK? Sounds fascinating. I imagine local beer consumption loyalty was a thing pre-war, but maybe WW2 kickstarted that?

Ron Pattinson said...

Hi Michael Foster ,

I've got two:

qq said...

The "authentic" taste of home is very important to the military. Back in the day I used to regularly visit the publicly-accessible social club of a US airbase in the UK. They had 12oz cans of real made-in-the-US cans transported from the US, rather than 330ml cans of the British version made in Sidcup, as well as other exotica like Hershey bars.

Michael Foster said...

qq: Here in Thailand there is a social club at a training ground for U.S. military stationed here; it's the only place I've found Sam Adams and Fat Tire in the country (and at similar prices to in the U.S., since they're exempt from the local excise tax). Definitely a virtue!

I'm reminded of this training film from WW2 where U.S. soldiers are taught about English pub culture ("they like their beers warm...what's the difference between a bitter and a mild? I'm not sure..."). The whole thing is fascinating to watch: