Friday, 6 June 2014

English brewers' visit to Holland

Another random Journal of the Institute of Brewing article that caught my attention. Or rather, which I went hunting for.

Accounts of British brewers' trips abroad are such great resources. They are the perfect reporters, both understanding the brewing process and fascinated by practices which differ from those in Britain. Sadly, this article doesn't contain that level of detail. But it does tell me where I can find it.


"ENGLISH BREWERS' VISIT TO HOLLAND

The eighth annual tour of foreign breweries organised and conducted under the auspices of The Brewers' Journal took place last June —the country visited being Holland. The party, numbering over thirty, included several members of the Institute and was easily the most notable so far, including as it did representatives from many of the largest breweries in England and Scotland.

The party were abroad for a week, making their headquarters in Amsterdam, and visiting, in addition, The Hague, Rotterdam and Amersfoort. At The Hague, the well-known "Z.H.B." brewery was visited. This brewery has a capacity for 92,000 barrels a year, of which the greater proportion is sold in cask. Messrs. Heineken's was the brewery visited at Rotterdam. This firm also has a branch in Amsterdam, and between them can turn out about 460,000 barrels a year. The party were received by Dr. Heineken and Dr. Mendlik, whom, it will be remembered, read a paper before the London Section in March of this year, and which was published in our July issue. The outstanding feature of this brewery was the brewhouse, which is one of the best seen on these tours.

At Amersfoort the party visited the Phoenix Brewery which, although smaller than the others, was most interesting. The capacity is about 40,000 barrels a year, and the point of special interest was that practically the entire output is exported. In Amsterdam, the Amstel Brewery was visited. As a single concern this is the largest in Holland, with a capacity of about 320,000 barrels a year. The maltings of this company are a fine example of the pneumatic system equipped with sixteen large Galland drums."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 43, Issue 5, September-October 1937, page 368 - 369.

I'm very grateful for those production figures. It helps put the Dutch industry into context. Amstel was the largest brewery with an annual output of just 320,000 barrels. That's quite modest by British standards. But Holland is a much smaller country and this is before Dutch breweries got heavily into exporting.

It would be interesting to know how much of Heineken's beer was brewed in Amsterdam and how much in Rotterdam. I assume they're referring to the 1930's brewhouse at Heineken, which is still intact. Very attractive it is, too.

Phoenix and ZHB were two of the older Lager breweries and it's a shock to see just how little they brewed.

I love stuff like this, details of the tax regime:

"The Excise Duty Holland in is charged at the rate of 1.50 guilders per degree—hectolitre, the charge being taken in the copper immediately before turning out. An allow ance of 4.2 per cent, is made for shrinkage in volume on cooling, but there is no allow ance for loss. The degree is 10° of specific gravity, so that the duty on a barrel at 1,048° would be about £1 6s 6d.
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 43, Issue 5, September-October 1937, Page 369.
I'd suspected tax awas paid on degree hectolitre because there's a column for that in Heineken's brewing records. In case you're interested, the tax in Britain on a barrel of beer with an OG of 1048 was £3 9s 9d, or more than two and a half times as much. ever  since WW I high taxation has been a feature of British brewing.

"The party was received with proverbial Dutch hospitality throughout the week, while the weather combined to make the tour one of the most successful on record. Readers interested will find a detailed account of the tour in the July and August issues of The Brewers' Journal.

Holland, in common with the rest of Europe, suffered in the depression some years ago, but trade is now on the upgrade, chiefly for export, as the Dutch can hardly be described as a beer-drinking nation. The beer, however, is good and has a distinctive flavour. There are not a large number of breweries outside the big cities, so that they have no Institute to compare with our own. Nevertheless, they have taken a prominent part in scientific research, and names which come readily to mind—Elion, Kluyver, Hartong and Mendlik—testify to the progressive nature of the industry."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 43, Issue 5, September-October 1937, Page 369.
In the Brewer's Journal, eh? I'm sure I've got a bound copy of the 1937 issues. Must take a look in that.

Holland has fallen in and out of love with beer a couple of times over the last century. It's only really after WW II that beer-drinking properly took root. Somnething many Dutch don't realise.

3 comments:

Pivní Filosof said...

"Holland has fallen in and out of love with beer a couple of times over the last century."

Just out of curiosity, was that because they preferred some other type of booze instead of beer, or because they didn't drink much of anything?

letslookagain said...

What took precedence over beer? Jenever?

Ron Pattinson said...

It was jenever they turned to.