Major Scottish Brewers Make Their Move
This continues our series on beer in the British Mandate of Palestine. It began with this post, a correspondent’s tour of Palestine Brewery Ltd. in 1944.
Below I document more examples of British beer available in 1930s Mandate Palestine.
The Australian press in 1940, reporting on doings of the A.I.F., tells us McEwan’s “brown ale” was enjoyed by the troops, in 14-oz. glasses.
It also states “well-known” English brands were available, of which we saw examples earlier.
Australian camps in Palestine were permitted wet canteens unlike in Australia. Initially they drank English beer, but preferred lager, by then generalized in Australia.
This was addressed partly by importing Australian beer and partly by engaging Palestine Brewery in Rishon LeZion to brew lager for A.I.F. canteens. I will revisit this in Part IX.
In 1930 McEwan’s is advertised along with Younger’s ale, “in draught”, by the International Restaurant. McEwan and William Younger merged that year, in part to market jointly their beer in places such as Palestine.
Certainly, McEwan’s took good interest in the Palestine market even before the merger. The social page in January 1930 (Palestine Post, as the other news references herein except the first) noted that a Mr. Whitle and wife “representing McEwan’s beer, England” were staying at the Windsor Hotel in Haifa with other named dignitaries.
The merged Edinburgh brewers clearly made inroads in the expat and military markets through the Thirties. In 1939 a Mr. Wilcockson, representing McEwan-Younger, donated a cup for competitions held by the Jerusalem Services & Police Football League.
The occasion was a Dance at the Menorah Club. A battalion of the Black Watch, Royal Highland Regiment, took the palm.
In 1935, the German Restaurant in Jerusalem, run by F. Nothbaum connected to the German Templers, vaunted its Munich lager (Hacker, Lowenbrau), Younger’s ale, Guinness stout, and milk stout.
In this case, the Younger’s was probably from George Younger, who we dealt with in an earlier Part, as this brewery was noted for its milk stout and this product was regularly advertised by George Younger then, for example here, in 1937. But possibly the Younger’s mentioned was of McEwan-Younger’s.
In this series, it seemed a daunting task to find an actual beer list from a N.A.A.F.I. in Palestine, bar, restaurant or hotel. The distance in time, and other limitations, seemed too great.
Finally, I did though.
The extract below is from a Wine-Card of the Hotel Fast in Jerusalem, in 1938. Hotel Fast was a longstanding hotel in the city founded in the latter 1800s, just outside the Jaffa Gate. It was owned by the Fast family with an interruption in ownership after WW I. In 1929 the family recovered ownership.
The Fasts were German Templers. The hotel continued until WW II when it became a club for the Australian forces. After 1948 it found various uses until it fell into ruin. It was torn down in 1975 and a new hotel was later built on the site.
Further information on the Hotel Fast can be gleaned from Tourists, Travellers and Hotels in Nineteenth-Century Jerusalem (2013) by Rupert L. Chapman, III and others. The authors devote a full chapter to the hostelry’s changing fortunes.
Czech Pilsner Urquell was on the wine list, the most expensive item. I stated earlier it was likely available in Mandate Palestine. The other beers are Tennent’s, Whitbread’s Double Brown Ale, stout (perhaps Guinness), a Munich beer, brand not specified, and Palestine Brewery Ltd.’s Eagle (aka Nesher), a lager.
The full wine list may be perused at the New York Public Library’s menu archive, here. It is interesting on numerous accounts, for example the local wines from Rishon LeZion.
Tennent’s of Glasgow took good interest in Palestine, as indeed George Younger had, and McEwans-Younger’s. Consider this ad of Tennent’s in 1933 (“Tennent’s: The Beer”) and, in 1934, this one. The brand was probably Tennent’s Lager, for which Tennent’s long had a reputation in the U.K.
The brand is still made and very popular; below is an image of the current label, from The Beer Store in Ontario. Tennent’s had an advantage over many other U.K. brewers in that it already had a lager suitable for hot climate markets – what’s more a reputed brand. It did not need to adapt an ale for the purpose, although it did produce ales as well.
It seems the Scots were more alert than English brewers to develop export markets from about 1875. Skill at such business was a Scots specialty in the period, probably reflecting the comparatively small size of Scotland’s brewing industry and increased domestic competition.
For background, particularly viz. McEwan, see Wilson & Gourvish, The Dynamics of the Modern Brewing Industry (1998).
Nonetheless, a signal exception exists for London-based Barclay, Perkins & Co. Ltd: its investment – post WW II – in a Sudan brewery. I will revisit this soon.
Numerous cafe ads mention beer and ale without specifying brands. It is possible, even outside such ads of course, that beers were sold other than names I have canvassed.
In 1940 the Kineret Bar on the storied Allenby Road advertised “all kinds of English beer”. Also touted was its “English food”. In 1939 the same bar advertised simply “the best glass of beer”. Clearly, Kineret was one of the Palestine beer haunts, proud of its offerings, not just offering a “list”.
In 1935, Futter’s Restaurant on Storrs Road in Jerusalem advertised “Wines and Ales”; the bald and rather unusual (to us) juxtaposition made clear these potables were a specialty.
Below, is the Hotel Fast as it appeared in 1935.
Note: the series continues with Part IX.
Note re images: the source of the first two images image above is identified and linked in the text. The third was sourced from Wikipedia Commons, here. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to the lawful owners, as applicable. Used for educational and research purposes. All feedback welcomed.