Friday, 12 December 2014

T & J Bernard’s beer range in 1960

As we saw the other day, when Scottish Brewers took over Edinburgh rival T&J Bernard in 1960, Bernard’s were requested to supply details of their beer range, so that the most suitable substitute from the McEwan’s and Younger’s ranges could be found. Here’s the list they supplied.

Bernard beers in 1960
Bottled AlesGravitySize of Bottle
India Pale Ale103010oz 20oz
Brown Ale*103010oz
Special Export104310oz
Grouse Export104510oz
Double Brown Ale104310oz 20oz*
Strong Ale10686.5oz
Export Stout104510oz
Canned AlesGravitySize of Can
India Pale Ale103016oz
Export Beer104316oz
Grouse Ale104516oz
Export Stout104516oz
* Gateshead only

That looks like a pretty standard range for a Scottish brewer of the time. Weak IPA. A Strong Ale and a Stout. The theory of Northern and Southern English Brown Ale is further undermined, as we have a weak and a strong Brown Ale from the same brewer. What is puzzling me are the two Export beers with very similar gravities.

And the four canned beers, presumably the most popular, IPA, Export, Grouse and Export Stout. I can imagine some house parties fueled by those after pub closing time. Pubs closed earlier back then of course.

Draught Ale Qualities and Gravities
No 21036S.F. Priming at 1148º is added to both Qualities at the rate of 1pt. per brl. except during periods of warm weather e.g. July to end of September.
No 31031
Newcastle & District
Special (No 1)1046No priming added
No 21036"
No 31031"
Grouse1045Supplied to one customer only (Dunston Social Club, Gateshead)

In common with other Scottish brewers, there was a significant trade with the Newcastle and Gateshead area, with beer being produced specially for that market. Did you notice that? Bernard’s had more different draught beers for the North East market than they did in Scotland. And there’s the Double Brown Ale packaged in pint bottles for the Geordies. I wonder what that was meant to compete with?

Also, they didn’t trust the locals with their strongest draught beer, No 1. If you wanted to get steaming, you’d have to neck the odd bottle of Strong Ale or glass of whisky between pints.

No priming was added in warm weather, or when beer was going to tropical Gateshead. Which suggests, to my naïve mind, that they were using a poorly attenuating yeast which took a long time to reach final gravity. Or perhaps they were racking to casks above final gravity as brewers do nowadays.

One more point. The other day, when we saw sales reps being instructed to make it clear to publicans that the substitute beer they’d be getting was going to be “container beer”, or keg as we call it today, I said that implied Bernard were still selling cask-conditioned beer. This proves it. The talk of priming is proof that the draught beer was cask ale.

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoying this series for what it shows about the takeover process.

    And it's dead handy for me. Now I know what Pale 1/1, Pale 1/2 and Pale 1/4 were: No. 3, No. 2 and No. 1.

    The racking gravities were pretty high:

    No. 1: 1013
    No. 2: 1012
    No. 3: 1011