Recently whilst innocently going about my business I once more fell into a JIB vortex. Seemingly innocuous search terms can suddenly throw up a fascinating range of titles to temp you in, and what was meant to be a quick look turns into a marathon expedition from which you emerge days later, dehydrated and surrounded by a stack of print outs.
One of the gems I spotted has this cracking quote from 1897*:
There are now scarcely 9,000 brewers for sale, as compared with more than double that number in 1880, or five times that number in 1837. The reduced number has to supply a rapidly increasing population, drinking more per individual. The reduction in number will continue, but not, I trust, much further.
These numbers look astonishingly high, and if I've read this right then back in 1837 they'd have had about as many breweries as we now have pubs. Despite the current surge in brewery numbers we're still way, way behind. In fact we're going to need to re-direct the nation's resources to a massive railway arch building programme if we're ever going to get back to such impressive levels.
*Nettleton, J.A., Materials Plant and Skill. Journal of the Federated Institutes of Brewing. Volume 3, issue 4, 1897.