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 was 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 for its products, 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

Now, why would barrel heads be painted? For English practice, see Boak and Bailey’s notes in February, 2017. I commented, 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 was the owner, to show “its colours”. This was an obvious advantage for a publican seeking to send back different brewers’ casks to the right source.

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

An English 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 head, black with white lettering.



In 1906 F.F. Haldane’s article “Casks: Their Manufacture and Treatment” suggested brewers paint the 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. 692.

The background was that most English brewers and probably most Irish ones, would not use the vanillin-flavoured American wood for ale.

But many had no objection to filling American casks with porter. Guinness is the best known case.

Possibly the paint schemes even distinguished among European oaks, depending on a brewery’s preferences and practice.

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

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 Part I.

A Warsaw supplier advertised gauges and other small tools, brass and other. And a table of prevailing barley prices appeared, a regular feature in the journal. It was nice to see Winnipeg mentioned.

Apart from Canada being an emerging granary, there may have been another reason why western Canadian grain was on Polish brewing radar.

A substantial number of Galicians had emigrated there for farming opportunities earlier in the century. This group was, I believe, mainly Ukrainian, but probably some Poles had joined this trek, and anyway the influence might be no less patent for that.

Part III follows.












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