Saturday, 23 August 2014

Did Guinness dominate Britain after WW I?

There was an article about WW I in the last issue of Beer written by Brian Glover that's got me a bit irritated.

Bit of a specialist subject for me, WW I. Most of the article isn't too bad, if a bit vague at times. But its towards the end here I had the red mist descend. Because he said that Guinness dominated the British Stout market after the war, mostly because restrictions on beer poroduction hadn't applied to Ireland.

Just two slight errors there. First Guinness didn't brush aside all competition after the war. Second, restrictions did apply in Ireland. Not as strict as the ones in the rest of the UK, but restrictions nonetheless.

This is a summary of the restrictions from the final war years:

"April 1 1918: Output for quarter reduced to rate of 11,470,000 standard barrels. The extra 20 per cent. offer withdrawn and 33 1/3 per cent. for munition areas reduced to 10.4 per cent., equal to 1,120,000 barrels, leaving total output at rate of 12,590,000 a year. Conditions changed by provision that average gravity of all beer brewed shall not exceed 1030º for great Britain and 1045º for Ireland, and that no beer shall be brewed below 1010º: and prices fixed at 4d. per pint below 1030º, and 5d. per pint for 1030º to 1034º. Food Controller imposed a special charge of 25s. per standard barrel for a munition beer brewed under his licence. April 23 1918: Duty increased to 50s.

Jan. 1 1919 : Statutory barrelage increased by 25 per cent., making annual rate of total output 13,260,000 standard barrels. Gravities raised 2º both for Great Britain and Ireland.

Feb. 20 1919 : Food Controller stated that "it is being constantly represented to us from Labour and other organisations that the shortage of beer and spirits is a cause contributing to the unrest in the country. I hope very shortly to be in a position to allow a considerably larger additional output of beer, and of better quality, than that recently sanctioned."

April 1 1919 : Beer duty raised to 70s. Statutory barrelage increased by 50 per cent., and gravity raised to 1040º in Great Britain. Special charge of 25s. per barrel for munition beer abolished as from April 30 1919.

May 23 1919 : Statutory barrelage further increased by 45 per cent., bringing total output up to rate of 26,000,000 standard barrels a Year. July 1 1919: All restriction on volume of output removed, and average permitted gravity increased in Great Britain to 1044º, and in Ireland to 1051º."
"The Brewers' Almanack 1928" pages 100 - 101.
Proof Guinness didn't tak over the UK Stout market? Well there's this table:



Guinness Extra Stout sales 1912-1930 (barrels)
Year
Britain
Ireland
total
UK Production
% Guinness
1912
913,659
674,868
1,588,527
36,476,000
2.50%
1913
1,022,077
736,563
1,758,640
36,296,000
2.82%
1914
1,070,814
731,511
1,802,325
37,558,767
2.85%
1915
1,122,784
641,346
1,764,130
34,765,780
3.23%
1916
1,135,902
581,577
1,717,479
32,110,608
3.54%
1917
621,374
369,201
990,575
30,163,988
2.06%
1918
613,295
347,753
961,048
19,085,413
3.21%
1919
1,029,235
565,870
1,595,105
23,264,533
4.42%
1920
1,732,881
798,493
2,531,374
35,047,947
4.94%
1921
1,591,908
786,688
2,378,596
34,504,570
4.61%
1922
1,254,920
724,894
1,979,814
30,178,731
4.16%
1923
1,205,468
696,582
1,902,050
25,850,701
4.66%
1924
1,315,325
640,974
1,956,299
27,381,316
4.80%
1925
1,347,174
583,730
1,930,904
28,665,729
4.70%
1926
1,215,179
544,008
1,759,187
28,524,797
4.26%
1927
1,203,003
520,923
1,723,926
26,824,387
4.48%
1928
1,120,955
508,483
1,629,438
27,064,583
4.14%
1929
1,213,481
508,158
1,721,639
26,329,639
4.61%
1930
1,380,691
493,669
1,874,360
26,936,316
5.13%
Sources:
Statistical Handbook of the British Beer & Pub Association 2005, p. 7
Brewers' Almanack 1928, p. 110
Brewers' Almanack 1955, p. 50
“A Bottle of Guinness please” by David Hughes, pages 276-279.
Note:
UK production figures adjusted to include Guinness output for years 1922-1930


That doesn't look like Guinness swept all before it in the 1920's. Their market share was pretty stable throughout the immediate postwar period.

This table compares sales in Whitbread pubs of their own Porters and Stouts and Guinness and Whitbread.



Whitbread sales of Porter & Stout 1929 – 1938 (barrels)

Whitbread Porter & Stout
Guinness & Bass
% Guinness & Bass
1929
85,779
45,595
34.71%
1930
151,008
50,064
24.90%
1931
143,619
45,245
23.96%
1932
126,467
37,977
23.09%
1933
121,436
39,192
24.40%
1934
122,220
41,528
25.36%
1935
123,269
41,773
25.31%
1936
123,880
41,344
25.02%
1937
127,374
41,353
24.51%
1938
127,575
39,077
23.45%
Sources:
Whitbread archive document number LMA/4453/D/02/16
Whitbread brewing records


It's clear that Whitbread's own Stout outsold Guinness by a factor of at least three to one (that's assuming there's almost no Bass in the combined Guinness and Bass figure) and possibly as much as five or six to one.

Maybe that was just Whitbread. Let's take a look at how many Stouts were being brewed in the UK in the 1930's. Here's a random selection from a single year, 1935:

British Stouts from 1935
Brewer Beer Price size package Acidity OG FG ABV App. Attenuation
Allsopp Milk Stout 9d half bottled 0.06 1049.3 1013.8 4.61 72.01%
Anglo Bavarian Stout 6.75d pint bottled 0.07 1053 1019.8 4.29 62.64%
Ansell Tonic Stout 8d pint bottled 0.07 1050.5 1011 5.14 78.22%
Ansell Milk Stout 5.5d half bottled 0.07 1060.7 1018.1 5.53 70.18%
Barclay Perkins Stout pint bottled 0.11 1051 1018.2 4.24 64.31%
Barclay Perkins Imperial Stout 6d to 9d pint bottled 0.13 1061.8 1014.2 6.20 76.97%
Barclay Perkins Stout 8d pint draught 0.14 1058 1012.2 5.97 78.97%
Cannon Brewery Cannon Stout pint bottled 1041 1013.4 3.57 67.32%
Charrington Toby Stout pint bottled 0.06 1044 1016.5 3.55 62.50%
Charrington Anchor Stout 7d pint bottled 0.06 1035 1014.1 2.70 59.71%
Courage Stout 8d pint bottled 1048.9
Courage Stout 7d pint bottled 1036.5
Eldridge Pope Double Stout pint bottled 0.07 1044.2 1013.5 3.98 69.46%
Fremlin Milk Stout 8d pint bottled 0.06 1048.8 1020.2 3.69 58.61%
Fremlin Oatmeal Stout 7d pint bottled 0.06 1041 1015.3 3.32 62.68%
Friary Holroyd Double Stout 7d pint bottled 0.06 1043 1017.2 3.33 60.00%
Hammerton Stout 8d pint bottled 1047.4
Hammerton Oatmeal Stout 8d pint bottled 0.05 1048 1017.3 3.97 63.96%
Ind Coope Stout 8d pint bottled 1037.5
Mann Crossman London Stout 8d pint bottled 0.07 1048 1017.8 3.90 62.92%
Mann Crossman Milk Stout 5d half bottled 0.04 1044.6 1022.9 2.79 48.65%
Meux Stout 8d pint bottled 1045.6
Meux Stout 7d pint draught 0.08 1047 1016.7 3.92 64.47%
Northampton Brewery Jumbo Stout pint bottled 0.05 1043 1024 2.43 44.19%
Raggett Nourishing Stout 10d pint bottled 0.07 1056.3 1019.3 4.79 65.72%
Reid Stout 8d pint bottled 1046.1
Simonds Milk Stout 10d pint bottled 0.07 1055 1018.3 4.75 66.73%
Star Brewery, Eastbourne Stout pint bottled 1039.9
Style & Winch Stout 7d pint bottled 1043.0
Taylor Walker Stout 8d pint bottled 1035.3
Taylor Walker Nourishing Stout 7d pint bottled 0.05 1033 1015 2.32 54.55%
Tollemache Oatmeal Stout 7d pint bottled 0.06 1045 1015.7 3.79 65.11%
Truman Eagle Stout 8d pint bottled 0.07 1040 1010.2 3.87 74.50%
Truman Stout 7d pint draught 0.07 1048 1011.2 4.78 76.67%
Watney Stout 7d pint draught 0.10 1046 1008.9 4.83 80.65%
Watney Reid's Family Stout 8d pint bottled 0.08 1047 1012.6 4.46 73.19%
Watney Reid's Special Stout 9d pint bottled 0.08 1055 1013.7 5.37 75.09%
Whitbread Stout 8d pint bottled 1047.1
Whitbread Stout 7d pint bottled 1039.6
Sources:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252.

They're just the ones Whitbread and Truman tested, so they're mostly beers from the Southeast. You can see that many breweries produced multiple Stouts and both in draught and bottle form. Ones in the 1050's would have been direct competitors with Guinness Extra Stout.

There were literally thousands of Stouts brewed in the UK between the wars. I've never come across a brewery that didn't make at least one. More typical was two or three. Barclay Perkins brewed half a dozen.

Guinness did not drive British Stout into extinction between the wars.