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Cask Labels #12

I know the Sir Henry Meux label didn’t raise an eyebrow or was everyone so gobsmacked they were unable to comment? Nevertheless here is another from the same source; the McCord museum in Ottawa via Frank Mrazik. Thanks to both.

I think this raises a lot of questions. Did Bass ever use a London Address? Was it used because London was well-known around the world in the 19th century but Burton on Trent probably wasn’t? Where is the triangle, red or otherwise? Give us your thoughts. We like thoughts, thoughts are good!

5 Responses to Cask Labels #12

  • Does it pre-date the triangle & was there a London registered office? More questions I am afraid.

  • I’m sure I read somewhere that Bass had stores, possible in railway arches, in London but for the life of me I can not remember where I read this. Anyone else got any information. Also, although it may be simple, I think this label is great!

  • Colin Owen’s history of Bass (“The Greatest Brewery in the World”) tells us that the red triangle was introduced around 1850, and the general style of this label looks older than that. Bass had a number of agencies around the UK, and the London agency (which operated from a variety of addresses over the years) was probably established before 1830. By 1846 the London agency accounted for 35% of gross sales, and no doubt a significant proportion of this was exported. It could conceivably be that the reference to London simply reflects that it was the port of export from the UK.

  • The most curious think about this label is the ‘Bass & Co’ title. The company was Know as Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton from 1837 becoming Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton Ltd in 1880. So, is this label pre-1837? Was Bass & Co, London a subsidiary company? We need more info!

  • In response to Dale’s comments, this is clearly a pretty old label – and conceivably pre-1837. However, I don’t think the reference to “Bass & Co”, as opposed to “Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton”, is particularly significant: it is clear from various Bass publications (and, of course, many labels) that “Bass & Co” was used as shorthand for the full company title well into the twentieth century. Indeed, the Bass Red Triangle label described the product as “Bass & Co’s Pale Ale” as late as the 1970s. As far as I am aware, there was no subsidiary entitled Bass & Co, London: the London stores were operated by the parent company.

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