The numbers are taken from an article in the Daily Mirror. I was really happy to come across this set of analyses, as they fill in a gap between the last entries in the Whitbread Gravity Book (late 1960s) and the Good Beer Guide (late 1970s). Especially handy as they include the price as well as the gravity. Perfect for my purposes today.
On a personal note, I drank most of these beers. All except Truman, Youngs and Youngers. The quality varied quite a bit. I never cared for Greenall Whitley or Wilsons Mild. Even cask versions never tasted any good to me. I remember on my first visit to Manchester struggling to find anything other than Greenalls and Wilsons pubs. Very frustrating.
Most of the examples cost the same: 11p. But, as there were quite large differences in gravity and ABV, there was considerable variation in value for money.
Best value, and also the strongest, was Batham's Mild. Also a cracking beer. A year or two later, I drank quite a bit of it in the Swan in n Chaddesley Corbett. Note that most of the stronger examples were from the West Midlands. Batham, Banks, Ansell, M & B. No real surprise, as the region was a stronghold of Mild.
Of the five worst value beers, four were from Big Six breweries: Wilsons, Younger, Whitbread and Truman. No shock there, either. Despite brewing on a larger scale, their beer was more expensive than that from smaller operations. Why was that? Logically, they should have been able to produce beer more cheaply. Where was the extra money going?
The alcohol content varies from 2.5% to 3.7% ABV. Almost half the examples - seven of fifteen - were below 3% ABV. Not beer that was going to get you drunk very quickly. If at all. Not that drinkers were aware of this. Only one brewery - Federation - printed the gravity of their beer on labels. Otherwise, the strength of beer was very much a mystery. All drinkers could go on was the type of beer and the price.
|Draught Mild prices in 1972|
|Brewer||Beer||Price per pint (p)||º gravity per p||% ABV per p||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation|
|Mitchell & Butler||Mild||12||2.88||0.27||1034.5||1009.8||3.20||71.59%|
|Young & Co||Best Malt Ale||11||2.74||0.25||1030.1||1008.5||2.80||71.76%|
|Younger, Wm.||Tartan Mild||11||2.69||0.25||1029.6||1008||2.80||72.97%|
|Daily Mirror July 10th 1972, page 15|