Brewing Supplies in Prewar Poland. Part II.


I will consider ads in a December 1926 issue of Przemysł Piwowarski, or “Brewing Industry”. This journal preceded the other I’ve been discussing, it was shorter and more business-oriented.

The Edward Lutz ad sheds further light on inputs used in Polish brewing in this period. With other sources, we also get a glimpse into contemporary Polish society and commerce

Edward Lutz – Firm and Products



Edward Lutz in Krakow advertised frequently in these journals from 1925 to 1939. In the ad above (p. 375), exterior coatings for barrels and vats are advertised. There were different colours: brown, yellow and gray are mentioned.

A worker is painting barrel ends. I’ll discuss presently the reasons, but first background on Edward Lutz. Lutz produced a well-known brand of paints, varnishes, and enamels.

As the ad shows, there were Lutz factories in other European cities including Budapest, Paris, and Prague. The Polish business was profiled in Tygodnik Illustrowany, or “Illustrated Weekly”, in 1930, see p. 454.

(This magazine, according to its Wikipedia profile, was a long-running, Warsaw-based publication. It covered a full range of arts, culture, scientific and business stories. Unusually, it remained apolitical).

Some points from the story: the factory in Krakow was founded in 1924 and quickly became known, producing annually 500,000 kg. of product by 1930. Until its founding Polish industry was not notable in the chemicals sector.

The factory, while Polish-owned, held licenses for the various Lutz brands, evidently Implak was one. Presumably these originated elsewhere, possibly Germany.

Numerous industries were serviced including hospitals, auto firms (varnishes and paints for cars), breweries, as well as private and military needs. The story noted that the products used by breweries had no impact on beer flavour.

To  Paint or not to Paint

Why would barrel heads be painted? For English practice, see Boak and Bailey’s notes in February, 2017. I commented there, as did others, raising further points.

I would summarize it this way: there were different reasons over time, and for different breweries. In England a brewery often did this to show that it owned the casks, to show “its colours”. This would make it easier for a publican to avoid error when returning empty casks, and for the brewer when handling inventory.

In an age before universal literacy, such devices helped distinguish and market a firm’s brands. In Ireland, Guinness painted different colours on barrel ends to show the different brands being barreled.

A painted cask is shown on the cover page of the 1970s beer guide Beers of Britain, by Warren Knock and Conal Gregory. Stave ends are red and the head, black with white lettering.



In 1906 F.F. Haldane’s article “Casks: Their Manufacture and Treatment” suggested brewers paint cask ends in a way to distinguish American and European oak types, where the former was used for porter, and the latter for pale ale. See at p. 69.

The context was most English brewers and probably most Irish ones, would not use vanillin-flavoured American wood to store pale or mild ale. But many had no objection to filling such casks with porter. Guinness is the best known case., it had no prejudice against the American cask.

Old-time Guinness must have hada  adsh of vanillin flavour, similar to some modern barrel-aged stouts. Perhaps in some cases, or for larger breweries, the paint schemes even distinguished among European oaks, depending on the brewery’s preferences and practice.

Yet another factor: depending how the cask head was produced, and especially if sawn vs. hand-fashioned, beer might leak through cut ends of capillaries. A thin coat of paint guarded against this and flavour was said not to be affected.

On this latter point, see the Jancis Robinson (wine writer) reference in my comment to the Boak and Bailey post.

Also in Przemysł Piwowarski

On the same page as the ads above, Karol Hessenmuller advertised a range of cooling solutions and fermentation and other tanks for smaller breweries in particular. We saw mention of him in my Part I.

Another supplier, in Warsaw, advertised gauges and other small tools, brass and other. A table of prevailing barley prices also appeared, a regular feature in the journal. Winnipeg, Canada mentioned sign of our early importance as a granary.

As well though, a substantial number of Galicians had emigrated to Western Canada to pursue farming opportunities, encouraged by the famous Sifton policy. This group was, I understand, mainly Ukrainian, but probably some Poles had joined the trek.

Part III follows.












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