Another example from Scotland, this time a completely different theme. A number of Scottish Brewers indicated the strength of their beers in either Shillings or Guineas. Maybe there was originally a connection with horse racing, where prizes were often given in Guineas, and of course guineas implies high quality. A Guinea was 21 shillings so 3 Guinea Ale was 63 shillings indicating a fairly weak beer as I have not come across 1 or 2 guinea beers. . At one time there may have been a relationship with the cost of a barrel of the beer. We shall return to this theme in the future. Here is Three Guinea Ale label from W.H.Brown of the Craigie Brewery in Dundee.
We are definitely in the realms of the quart bottle or possible even an larger container today. This must be a very early label, Allsopp merged with Ind Coope in 1933, and circular bottle labels were beginning to disappear after WW1. A shilling is a lot of money for that era, so I am going for a quart or possibly a half gallon salt glazed bottle. I wonder if anyone knows.
Today’s offering is another different method to indicate cost of the beer. Put the price on a stopper label. Stopper labels were introduced to stop the practice of unscrewing the top pouring out some beer and topping up with water. Hence early examples exhorted the drinker to ensure the label was unbroken. Some examples here from Fremlin’s of Maidstone and I won’t try to guess either the possible contents of the bottle or the size. Thanks again to Nick who sent in the images. For those lucky enough not to know, the top label reads 1 shilling and two pence, slightly less than 6p today.
Happy New Year to all our followers! And may your collecting year bring you many goodies. Like these maybe?
Very pleasing response to yesterday’s test. We should be more trusting of our followers. A second example from Carter’s Knottingley Brewery is added, both of which feature the 2d charge on the bottle in a tab at the top of the label. The company was acquired by Bentley’s Yorkshire Breweries in 1935 and in the 1920s and 30s the bottle charge would be at the very least an eighth of the cost of the beer, possibly more, even on a quart bottle. I can’t see many people happy to pay that proportion today, especially on a bottle costing over £3..
Brewers used different ways to include the price of the beer on the label. This Extra Stout label from Charles Wells of Bedford has the 6d price discretely located below the central roundel. A lovely label, our thanks go to Nick for providing the image.
We are off to Scotland for this next example. A third or less, of the cost of the previous two labels we have featured. MacLachlan’s Edinburgh Ale, which would appear to be a really cheap beer. Why only 2d I hear you ask? Was it because it is a much earlier label and so the beer is cheaper, was it because there was less money about in Scotland, so they had to keep the price low to get sales, or perhaps this label was for a half pint bottle?
We will start with the solution and judging by the number of emails we received many of you sorted it out. This is the correct way to view the labels.
We received a record 8 contributions from all parts of the globe. Actually three parts of the globe which we were really pleased about. First mail was from Nick, who thought my taste in music was really obscure. First correct solution was mailed at 11 minutes past 2 on Sunday afternoon from Pete S, who also wrote ‘ Ain’t the Internet great for advent quiz answers’. Brendan Bush was more explicit, he wrote ‘ I stared at the labels from a few minutes, the only thing that sprung to mind was Rolling Stones, so I googled their albums, found Beggars Banquet and then inspected the track listing’. Yorkshire Terrier knew the album, but complained that I had used an obscure track , so he had to resort to the internet and I suspect Geoff did the same, although I could be wrong there. Eric got his solution in by 3.30 together with an approving nod to the particular track, and Charlie D after an initial comment, ‘this is hard’ got the correct answer at 9.15. Sometime in the middle of the night, a mail arrived from A Brewer, who is associated with the Lion Brewery in New Zealand, thanking us for using their Crafty Beggars beers and sending the collage above, which is brilliant. Finally there was a mail from Gary in Indiana who complained that he never puts his laptop on on Christmas Day or Boxing Day so how did we expect him to be first. Fair point, I suppose. All in all, Advent Calendar 2017 a success, we think.
Something that will not stretch the budget in quite the same way as the Phillips & Marriott label would. Hole & Co of the Castle Brewery in Newark remained independent until 1967, when the company was acquired by Courage. The beer was a penny cheaper and although scarce this label would probably set you back less than a hundred pounds. Interesting use of ‘Tanner’ in the name of the beer, little to do with tanning, it was the popular name for a sixpenny piece.
After the very pleasing response to our Advent Calendar and the sharp upturn in both viewings and comments, we thought another theme would be welcomed. This will feature labels with money as part of the design, sometimes the cost per bottle, others will have an indication of gravity or even a deposit on the bottle. We start with a gem from Phillips and Marriott of the Midland Brewery in Coventry. 7d a bottle, that is just under 3p in today’s money. And the cost of the label today? In excess of £500 we would imagine. And don’t forget there is still time to send a solution to Advent Calendar #24 which can be found HERE.
For Christmas Eve we offer a puzzle. As I was driving home a couple of days ago, there was a particularly fine album playing on the sound system. Actually it was album no. 107 on the memory stick. I thought this would be a great idea. Decode the clues suggested by the six labels pictured below to find the name of the artist, the album and the particular track that was playing when the idea first germinated. Answers to the email@example.com by Thursday 28th December. All communications will be added to the comments section that evening. There may even be a small prize. Don’t let me down.