Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Guinness Porter

Promises should be kept. I told you I'd post about Guinness Porter. Here it is.

I'm just covering 1840 to 1900. I haven't had the time/inclination to transcribe any more. Yet. There's another consideration: if I put too much in each post, I'll be out of material by January. Stretching like an elastic band. Expect that.

You can see the explosive growth after 1850. What surprised me:

  1. sales increased in Ireland more quickly than in Britain
  2. in Ireland sales of Porter started behind, but soon outstripped, those of Extra Stout
  3. the tiny quantities of Porter exported to Britain.
  4. the difference between what Guinness sold in Ireland (mostly Porter) and Britain (almost exclusively Stout)

That interests me, if no-one else. It's worth bearing in mind, that the London Porter breweries were still brewing far more Porter than Stout at this time. Guinness deliberately aimed at the top end of the market.

I'll post again when I've extracted some more numbers from David Hughes' book. 1922 to 1930 will attract particular attention. After Irish independence, beer imports to the United Kingdom jumped from 7,017 barrels to 1,392,576. Any guesses how much of that was Guinness?


Knut Albert said...

All of it?

Zythophile said...

Lynch and Vaizey (Guinness's Brewery in the Irish Economy: 1759-1876) offer somew reasons for all these, as I recall - one effect of the Potato Famine was that rural Ireland did, as it recovered from the disaster, at least change from a subsistence economy to a money economy, which meant people now had the cash to buy beer - previously they'd have had to swap a pig for (a) an unfeasibly large quantity of beer that would go off before it eran out or (b) a reasonable quantity of whiskey. So beer sales went up in rural areas, and Guinness seems to have been the Dublin brewer that took advantage of this. IIRC, funnily, the rural market was largely stout rather than porter, and Dublin was the big porter market - even in the 1950s, aparently, barmen in Dublin would recognise you were a culchee if you ordered stout ...

Guinness didn't export much porter to England because they were worried it wiould be passed off as stout, or mixed with stout - Liverpool was about the only place porter went to, apparently ...

Ron Pattinson said...

Knut, almost right.

Zythophile, interesting comments. I've nicked them for my second post on Guinness Porter.