Here’s a little detail that caught our eye in the Boddington’s Brewery board minute books, from August 1963: an order for pump clips.
Advertising — Pump Clips.
It was decided to place an order with Nightingale Signs Ltd for 5000 Pump Clips, yellow barrel design, at 3 and 4 each, to be apportioned as follows:-
2500 Bitter Beer
1250 Best Mild
We didn’t notice any earlier reference to pump clips in these documents, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any — we had half a day to read the lot and might have just missed them. And even if this is the first mention of pump clips, it might just be that no-one bothered to write it down before this point.
But, still, our gut feeling is that this was recorded precisely because it was the first time — it was something new for Boddington’s, and literally remarkable.
We haven’t spent any time studying the subject, really, except when Oliver Gray asked for our input on this article, but our cautious assumption, based on photos and marketing materials like these, from 1984 and 1994 respectively…
…is that the ubiquity of pump-clips, like logo-printed glassware, is essentially a development of the Big Six era that came alongside TV advertising and the growth of national brands. Before the 1960s, there wasn’t much need for them, because most pubs sold standard beers from the breweries that owned them, and you either wanted a pint, or you didn’t. There was no hard sell, and bars usually looked something like this:
Nowadays, a naked pump handle would lead most British drinkers to assume they’d run out of beer, wouldn’t it?
The numbers of pump-clips Boddington’s ordered is interesting, too — a 50/50 split between mild and bitter sounds about right for the early 1960s, when the Financial Times was reporting on the decline of mild and the rise of bitter, kegged or otherwise.
Anyway, that’s it — just a little note for a quiet Sunday. As you were. Carry on.
John Lester collects breweriana and sent us this fantastic photo of what is probably a pump clip from the very batch ordered in 1963. (See his comments below.)