Wednesday, January 26, 2011

1843: Hop and Grain Trade in The Economist

If I had more free time I might spend some time looking for new bits of beer history. Sometimes you stumble upon a tidbit and today was one of those days. A friend linked to a copy of The Economist from September 16, 1843. Lets see what they had to say about the barley and hop trade. I also included the comments on the sugar trade even though this came from the period in which such "adulterants" would have been prohibited from beer in Britain.

(From Messrs Gillies and Horne's Circular.)

Corn Exchange, Monday, Sept. 11.—The weather continued most beautiful here until yesterday, when we had some heavy thunder showers, and to-day is gloomy, damp and close. The wind, what little there is of it, is north. The arrivals during last week were moderate except of Foreign Wheat and Barley, of which of course there is yet some quantity to arrive. The new English Wheat coming soft in hand, is slow sale at 1s. to 2s. reduction—free Foreign finds buyers for mixing at last week's currency. Barley is dull sale at last week's rates. Oats are 6d. to 1s. lower. Some new Irish have appeared of fine quality. There is no change in Beans and Peas. Flour is the same as last week.

Corn Exchange, Friday, Sept. 15.—The weather threatened to be stormy yesterday, the barometer fell, and we had some heavy drops of rain, but it has since cleared up, and to-day is 10 degrees warmer and beautifully clear, with the wind south east. In Ireland and Scotland there was a good deal of rain on Sunday and Monday, which (we understand) stopped the harvest work for the time, but we hope by this time they have it fine again. The new English Wheat comes to hand softer and lighter than at first; as usual after being stacked, the yield is much complained of, besides that many of the stacks got so soaked by the heavy rains of the 21st and 23rd of August, that the condition of the Wheat is sadly spoiled. The arrivals are moderate this week, except of Irish Oats, several small parcels of which are of the new crop; there is also a small parcel of new Scotch Barley in fine condition, and new Scotch Oats, also good. Almost all the Wheat has been entered at the 14s. duty; we believe it is over 300,000 qrs. New English Wheat is dull sale: Foreign, on the other hand, is more inquired for, and not to be purchased in any quantity except at 1s. advance. Barley is saleable in retail at Monday's prices. Oats are again 6d. cheaper than on Monday, except for very fine samples. The averages lead us to suppose that on the 21st instant the duty on Foreign Wheat will rise to 16s. per qr.; on Barley it will remain 6s.; on Oats 6s.; on Rye it will rise to 9s. 6d.; on Beans it will remain 10s. 6d.; and on Peas, 9s. 6d.


The average price of brown or Muscovado sugar for the week ending September 12, 1843, is 34s. 134d. per cwt., exclusive of the duties of Customs paid or payable thereon on the importation thereof into Great Britain.


Monday.—There was no business whatever transacted during last week, and even the duty remains without fluctuation. In this state of inactivity the effects of the Metropolitan Total Abstinence movement was a topic of interest to the trade. As it appears that nearly 70,000 persons took the pledge, the consumption of malt liquor must seriously diminished, and the demand for Hops will consequently be very considerably decreased. It is fortunate, therefore, for the planters that this year's growth is not large, otherwise the prices would have been seriously low, and although that crop is not only about an average, yet from this diminished consumption, which is likely to progress, the value of the new will not be more than last year, and possibly even less. There have been a few small lots of 1843's at market, which go off very slowly.

Friday.—About ten pockets of new hops have been disposed of this week at from 7l. to 8l. per cwt. We are now almost daily expecting large supplied from Kent and Sussex, as picking is now going on rapidly. In old hops scarcely any business is doing, while the duty is called 150,000l.

Source: The Economist Vol. 1, No. 3, September 16, 1843 via Project Gutenberg

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