I was glancing through my Boddingtons records yesterday and spotted something. One of the handy totals you sometimes find at year or month end.
It's of their stock of bee in casks at the end of 1984:
H = 54 gallon hogshead
B -= 36 gallon barrel
K = 18 gallon kilderkin
F = 9 gallon firkin
The fact that they only had a single firkin in stock says everything about the change in barrel size over the last 30 years.
Almost half of the stock of Bitter was in hogsheads. I have heard rumours that Holts still use them, though I haven't had that confirmed. I doubt very much if anyone else still bothers with them. I'm sure there are still regional breweries using barrels. I'd put money on Sam Smiths. But the vast majority of casl beer now comes in kilderkins and firkins.
Boddie's pubs must have still been shifting Mild quite quickly, given the majority of it was in full barrels. I doubt anyone fills anything larger than kilderkins with Mild any more.
One last point pops into my mind. How long would that stock have been intended to last? If it were a week's stock, that would mean Boddingtons were only brewing around 35,000 barrels a year. But I'm pretty sure that they brewed at least 200,000. Divide 200,000 by 700 and you get 285. It looks like they didn't have much more than a day's supply of draught beer in stock.
Birra verde - *We were in a hotel, pizzeria, bar, tobacconist, pool hall and discotheque complex on the shores of a man-made lake, high in Northern Tuscany's Apuan Alps....
3 hours ago