Sunday, 26 September 2010

Decline in number of UK breweries 1838 - 1900

I found this nice table of the number of breweries in the UK in the "Journal of the Institute of Brewing". I thought it might interest one of two of you. And if not- well, at least I've posted today.

Brewing licences issued 1838 - 1900
Year common brewers private brewers
1838 49,200
1870 32,287
1875 27,322
1879 22,278
1880 21,131
1881 15,707 71,876
1882 15,569 110,025
1886 13,308 95,301
1887 12,938 33,581
1890 11,364 25,281
1895 9,050 17,041
1900 6,447 12,734
"Journal of the Institute of Brewing, vol 7", 1901, page 64

Because no licence was required, the number of private brewers before1880 is not recorded. Private brewers included everyone who brewed but didn't sell their beer. Farmers, colleges, country houses and so-called "cottage brewers" (the rural working class brewing for themselves).

Private brewing never completely died out and, right up until their abolition in the early 1960's, private brewing licences were being issued.

Almost 50,000 breweries in 1838. Very impressive. That's far more than the total number of breweries in the world today. It puts the 700 or so in the UK currently into perspective.


johnk said...

Ron, I like to look through the old editions of the J Inst Brewers because they are far more practical and of use to home/craft brewers, they give more reliable/properly tested info than possibly erroneous info from the web. However the more modern editions tend to be on obscure subjects that are probably only of interest to the researcher and his mum (basically they fly over my head). Unfortunately the journals that are available on-line at the website are the more modern and less useful ones. Now the nub of my question, I noticed the date you reference here (vol 7, 1901), that one is not on line. Can I ask where you access the journals, is there another on-line source or do you just mass photograph them when you get a chance.

Ron Pattinson said...

Johnk, I downloaded all the volumes that I have. If I remember correctly, I've got 1895, 1901, 1902, 1907 and 1908. I'm pretty sure I found them all on Google Books.

Martyn Cornell said...

The vast majority of those "common brewers" were, of course, pubs, inns and beerhouses brewing their own. Gourvish and Wilson (The British Beer Industry 1830-1980) say there were 45,514 brewers-for-sale in England and Wales in 1841, but of those 41,893, or 92 per cent, were home-brew pubs and beerhouses.

The beerhouses, some 16,000 of them brewing their own beer, which was two out of every five beerhouses, had an average output of less than 100 barrels a year and made just 11 per cent of all beer brewed for sale. The pubs and inns with breweries attached totalled just under 27,000 or almost half of pubs and inns, and they brewed just under 150 barrels a year each, on average, making up just under 30 per cent of all beer brewed in England and Wales. There were 2,258 "ordinary" breweries, making an average of 3,621 barrels a year each, 60 per cent of total output.

By 1890 the number of actual commercial breweries had fallen slightly, to 2,175, but their average output had risen to 11,231 barrels a year and was 90 per cent of the total. Of the other 9,631 commercial brewers, 6,312 were pubs and inns, average output 275 barrels a year, making 6 per cent of all beer brewed and sold, and 3,319 were beerhouses, average output actually higher than the pubs, at 286 barrels a year, four per cent of all beer sold.