The brewing trade in North East England 1869-1939
The thesis traces the evolution of the North East brewing trade from the introduction of restrictive licensing in 1869 through to the outbreak of the Second World War. Part One assesses the state of North East brewing c.1869 with respect to brewing practice and technology, the structure of the trade, the degree of public regulation and public concern, and the competitive environment, especially regional products and the role of imports from outside the North East. Part Two, covering 1870-1890, deals with two main issues : the organisation of production, including the structure of the trade and the size and arrangement of breweries, and competition in the context of attempts by brewers in the region to meet the competitive challenge from outside brewers through greater involvement in the retail sector and through the strengthening of management, improved products and marketing. Part Three, covering 1891-1914, looks at the changing structure of the trade as a result of concentration of ownership, incorporation, rationalisation, and further integration into retailing. The increasingly complex competitive environment, the more professional approach to management and financial performance are also discussed. Part Four, covering 1914-1920, considers the organisation of the trade, competition and performance in the particular circumstances of strict government regulation. Part Five, covering 1921-1939, deals in the first instance with structural change, both in production and the retail trade, against the background of overall contraction in the industry. Secondly, competition and performance during the period are discussed; the changing competitive environment with respect to counter—attractions and the brewers' response of improving public houses and advertising, and performance in the context of the difficult economic climate. Finally, some general conclusions are drawn about the overall pattern of structural change, developments in competitive and market behaviour, and performance; about the causal relationship between these factors; and about the determining influence of takeover and merger.