Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Hop growing in the First World War

No doubt you're all familiar with the horrors the First World War inflicted on British beer. If for some reason this fascinating subject is not something you're familiar with then you really need to head over to Ron's blog.

Suitably informed I'm sure you'll soon be pondering "what happened to hop growing during the war then?". Well ponder no more as I've a snippet that answers that question:

"In 1917, owing to wartime conditions, brewing was drastically restricted and the possibility of a large surplus of hops was forseen by hop growers and traders. At their request the Government ordered a reduction in the amount of land under hops to half the 1914 acreage. Later in the same year the Government formulated a scheme of Hop Control which was in force until 1925."

AH Burgess "Hops" pp 13-14

There is more later on in the book, which I may return to if I get a moment.


  1. The situation of the hop industry in WW I is a really odd one. Without government intervention many would have been ruined. It's odd that, when everything else was in short supply, there was a glut of hops.

    I don't know what it is about WW I that I find so fascinating. perhaps it's the way it changed British beer and drinking habits so permanently. The beer and pubs of my youth were basically the result of WW I.

  2. It does seem strange that the growers asked for the government to make them grub up half their hops. I suppose by making sure it was compulsory they got compensation.

    The WW I thing for me goes back to 'Old British Beers and How to Make Them' considering it the end of the golden age of British beer. But my drinking habits are of course firmly post WW I as I don't last long on beers >5% ABV.

  3. Having got used to Belgian-strength stuff, Edwardian beer is perfect for me. Bring on the KKK.

  4. I may be able to help you there. Not quite The Birth of a Nation but not far off ...