WE HAVE REFERRED to the Anchor as one of London’s most modern and well-appointed breweries. The statement may be fortified by a short description. The Brewery has a river frontage of 185 feet, and runs back to Gainsford Street, covering an area of four acres. The property was intersected by streets, but now is divided only by Shad Thames, and is bounded on the west by Horselydown Lane. All the brewing takes place on the riverside premises. The plant and machinery consists of :- Four Boilers (oil burning); Six steel Malt Bins, holding 5,500 quarters of Malt; Three Mash Tuns, with a total capacity of 300 quarters of Malt; Two Coppers, each of 500 Barrels boiled by steam heaters Nine Storage Tanks for oil, which contain 250 tons or six weeks’ consumption. The beer is pumped across to the south side of Shad Thames in pipes to a pure air refrigerator room, which contains twelve vertical and three horizontal refrigerators in three worts, and then runs into thirty-one different sized copper lined fermenting vessels, ranging from 950 barrels to 50 barrels, with a total capacity of 11,000 barrels. After fermentation the beer is chilled through counter current chillers at the rate of 300 barrels per hour and carbonated at the same time. It is then stored in thirty-four Pfaudler tanks with a capacity of 9,244 barrels at 32° Fahrenheit until required, when it is driven and pumped through filters into casks by air pressure. The main buildings on the south side of Shad Thames, in addition to the fermenting rooms, consist of a Power House, which contains two 60 ton and one 25 ton ice making machines; cold storage for 3,000 pockets of hops; racking floors; tank cellars; cask floors; and the new loading-out yard, with steam cooperage, washing floor, etc., above. On the ground floor are the long range of offices for the Directors and staff of clerks and collectors, and above them is the oak-lined Board Room is the Surveyor’s Office, with its rows of drawing desks, etc. In the midst is the old original courtyard, with its War Memorial, and the old office which the former Courages used now converted into a mess room. On the west of Horselydown Lane are the bottling stores, with their filters, washing and filling plant~ and immense floors for cases and bottles. The stables, garages and carpenters’ shops are situated a few hundred yards away, in Queen Elizabeth Street; they too are the company’s free-hold property. The whole forms a most compact, up- to-date, model Brewery.
This is a present-day process. The loans made in the past Were to secure the draught beer trade only, and customers had a free hand for bottled beers, which were supplied by a few bottlers. The only Brewers who bottled to any extent were Messrs. Whitbread. As the houses gradually became absorbed by the Brewers, by purchase or by becoming mortgagees in possession, bottling was recognised as a further business outlet. It is only however within quite recent years that it has become general. A preliminary effort to secure this trade was made in 1904 by arranging with the Star Bottling Company to supply Courage’s houses, but the beers were not well known or popular and in 1910 a fresh attempt was made by arranging for their supply through the best known Firms in London - Messrs. M. B. Foster for Bass and Guinness, Messrs. R. P. Culley & Co. for Worthington and Guinness, and Messrs. Fremlin Bros. for all the lighter brands.
These goods were invoiced and collected by the Brewery; and at first only two men were engaged to superintend the deliveries and accounts. The business increased so rapidly that the Company started to bottle for itself in 1912. Plant and machinery were erected, and the output grew, until now there are 27 Bottled Beer Vans and Lorries, 12 Washing Machines, 18 Filling Machines, and 13 Crown Corking Machines; besides Pasteurizers, Pulpwashers, Filters, Automatic Labellers and Chillers; and the work is performed by a staff which controls 108 boys and 111 girls. The two Head Brewers, Messrs. P. K. and E. Le May, with Mr. J. W. Everard, were mainly responsible for this development. During the War, when gravities were restricted by the Government, a higher gravity was allowed in Ireland than in Great Britain. An immense demand for Guinness was the result. This has continued, and at present no fewer than 200 hogsheads of this stout are bottled weekly. The total output of bottled beers in 1931 reached 54,820 barrels, equivalent to about 25 per cent, of the Brewery’s output. Now, owing to the Emergency Budget introduced by Mr. Snowden in September 1931, and maintained by his successor, there has been a heavy decrease in output and employment in bottled, as in other beers. TRANSPORT When the Company started in 1889 horses were still the means of transport, and the Stud consisted of 78 animals; by 1914 the number heavy draught horses had increased to 104. The Courages have always been lovers of the horse, and they held a great name for possessing the best horses on the road. The teams were arranged in colour, and it was a grand sight to see a unicorn of three pulling about six tons of beer through the crowded streets of London. Mr. Henry Courage devoted himself to this Department ; and he was succeeded by his son the late Mr. H. Ernest Courage. When mechanical Transport was introduced the first purchase, in January 1916, was a steam Foden, at a cost of £673. This was followed by a Commer car ; and the first K type Leyiand motor lorry was bought in January 1920, for £1,310. The complement of cars is now 34 Leylands, 5 Fodens, 5 Morris Trucks, 3 Trailers. But there is still a stud of 32 horses. The Company insists on a twice-weekly delivery of COOL CLEAR COURAGE to their houses, which gives plenty of work to be done by this department. It is managed by Mr. C. Dawes, who has been with the Company for over 40 years, the upkeep of the fleet being in the care of Mr. E. F. Laird who joined the Company in 1889 to take charge of the Stables; but he has ably adapted himself to the change from horse to motor. The whole transport system is under the superintendence of Captain J. H. Courage.