Time for another random statistical post. Based on a document I found on my last archive visit.
I say document. It's just a sheet of paper with a load of handwritten numbers. But I find them interesting. Here they are:
There are 11 breweries listed, with a combined output of around 6 million barrels. That's out of a total of 48 millions barrels for all breweries in the UK. Or 12.5%. Interestingly, the 11 were located in just three cities. Dublin, Burton and London. Eight in London alone.
It's a chilling reminder of London's demise as a major brewing centre. What's left today? Fuller's.
Come to think of it, all but the top two - Guinness and Bass - have closed. (Though Bass isn't really Bass any more.) Courage, Charrington and Truman were all still open when I began boozing.
Ok. I've got 10 minutes to finish this off. Have to be quick. Use of sugar. The Londoners were hooked on it. Guinness used none and the Burton boys just a little. (Just been looking through records of Truman's Burton brewery for this period. They didn't use as much as the Brick Lane parent brewery.) I wonder if that had any connection with the type of beer being brewed. Hang on, though. Whitbread used more in their Pale Ales than in anything else.
A decade or so after this, the first mega-merger took place. When Watney, Combe and Reid combined to form . . . . Watney, Combe, Reid. Their pooled output was over 1 million barrels. It was the beginning of consolidation of the brewing industry. A process, lasting 70 years, which led to the formation of the Big Six. (Should have been Big Seven, really, but for some reason CAMRA left Guinness out.)
There. I'm done. And with two minutes to spare.
Let me try again - In my first year of writing about beer I was filled with enthusiasm for a topic that was then largely new not only to me but also to most others. Nobody knew...
3 hours ago