Sadly the number of responses to the last post could easily be counted on the fingers of a person whose hands had been amputated. So I thought today needs to feature a label I have not seen before except on the cover of that wonderful publication ‘A Scrapbook of Greenall Whitley’. So I do know who issued it.. Here the penny is the deposit on the bottle. An early example of recycling. And my guess is that this label was issued before 1919.
It certainly cost 7d and I am guessing that would have got you a pint of Bitter Beer. But who brewed it? Surely someone recognises the design at the top and we know we have seen the motif at either side of 7d before, but where? It almost looks as though there should be a brewers name in a semi-circle round the top of the label that got missed off the printing.
A pair today from William Stones, Cannon Brewery in Sheffield. The Dinner Ale being the lower strength. What we would really like to know is; where there other labels in this series? There are labels with the same design without the 6d and 7d added, so is there a similar Nourishing Stout or Cannon Ale?
A trio of 6d beers today, all of which have a completely different design idea. There must have been a period when adding the cost of the beer became more common, although as far as I can tell it was a very small minority of brewers who adopted the practice. I am guessing that these three labels from different parts of the country were in use at around the same time.
Thanks to John L for the information on Samuel Lord and here is some more. He also bottled at the former Commission Street Brewery in Bolton, which was owned by John Atkinson & Co. Ltd until it became part of Boardman’s United Breweries in 1898. This label from Watney, Combe, Reid & Co is probably from just before the outbreak of World War 1.
Still on the more expensive beers, today we offer a label from Constable & Sons of the Anchor Brewery in Littlehampton. To encourage contributions from fellow brewery historians, we are going to say very little about this label, except to comment that 1/6d seems a lot for a Mild Ale, it is after all more than 7p in today’s money.
Denis has sent in these two images. The Sparkling Dinner Ale is from the Whitefield Brewery and so predates the 1899 merger to form Whitefield Breweries Ltd. The stopper label doesn’t mention Whitefield, but the Whitefield Brewery was in Besses o’ th’ Barn which is actually mentioned in wiki. Was there another brewery in Besses and where does Samuel Lord fit into the operation. Was he just a bottler in Bolton?
Fremlin Brothers of the Pale Ale Brewery, Maidstone, was not especially noted for its Stout. Yet in the early years of the 20th century they produced a Half Crown Stout which prompts several questions. What is a Half Crown? Was it the cost of the beer and if so how much did you get for your money? Was it just a name designed to give the impression of high quality?
I can answer the first question. A crown was equal to five shillings and since the 19th century was mainly minted for commemoration purposes, Coronations, Jubilees, festivals,the last one in 1965 on the death of Winston Churchill. So Half Crown was 2 shillings and six pence 2/6. Unlike the Crown coin, this was in continuous use until 1970.
We feel a lot more confident about today’s post after the responses to yesterday’s post. We are particularly grateful to Ron Pattinson for his succinct contribution. Here is a 90/- Ale, this time from Maclay & Co. of the Thistle Brewery, Alloa. A higher gravity ale, possibly similar to a Strong Ale in England. Scottish Brewing Heritage date this label to the 1900s, which, according to Ron, would mean 90 shillings a hogshead, which works out at 2½d a pint. This works well. If it is sold at 4d a bottle, which would have been a pint, reasonable profit for all.
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.