British Brewing in World War II with Ron Pattinson – BeerSmith Podcast #211

Ron Pattinson joins me to discuss his upcoming book on British beer brewing during World War II. Ron has done extensive research on how commercial beer production and recipes evolved during the war.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (47:19)

  • This week my guest is Ron Pattinson. Ron is the author of dozens of historical brewing books primarily focused on the UK. Ron also runs a blog titled Shut Up About Barclay Perkins where he regularly publishes articles on historical beer brewing.
  • We briefly discuss Ron’s return from Thailand last week as the Coronavirus breakout began.
  • Ron introduces the new book he’s working on called “Blitzkreig!” which covers the history of British beer brewing in WWII.
  • Ron explains how beer brewing was much different in WWII vs WWI where we saw a drop in production.
  • We talk about the drop in beer gravity combined with rising production of beer during the war.
  • Ron explains beer taxes, which rose during WWII but not nearly as much as they did during WWI.
  • We discuss the role Churchill played in maintaining beer production.
  • Ron tells us how recipes evolved in response to ingredient supply including large changes year-to-year in brewing recipes.
  • We discuss hops, which largely were kept in supply during the war though hop content did drop slightly in recipes.
  • Ron explains shortages in new equipment, coal and other items which also made brewing a challenge.
  • Demand for beer remained high during the war which was good for breweries.
  • Ron talks a bit about bombing around London which hit many breweries, but also how the breweries often had fire brigades which helped them manage the damage.
  • We talk about his blog and where people can learn more about beer brewing in WWII.


Thanks to Ron Pattinson for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!
iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

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