“Which brands would have been available in an ordinary English pub of the 1950s or 1960s, including spirits and wines?” – paraphrased from correspondence
To answer this, let’s pick a year; and let’s make that year 1965 because we’ve got a good reference to hand: James H. Coombs’ Bar Service: careers behind the bar – volume one.
We’ve written about this little volume before. First, there was a post about its advice on beer. Then there was a companion piece with some nuggets on pub life.
The bit we’re going to look at today, though, is arguably the most boring section in which Mr Coombs provides a long list of the types and variety of booze a good pub ought to carry.
Here’s the raw information from those, oof, twelve chapters. We’ve only included items where a brand name was mentioned, plus a couple of example of beers where ‘brewery’s own’ would be the brand.
|Pale ale (light ale)||Brewery’s own|
|Brown ale||Brewery’s own|
|Double Diamond||Ind Coope|
|John Courage (JC)||Courage|
|Red Barrel||Watney Mann|
|Ben Truman (Ben)||Truman|
|Barley Wine||Brewery’s own|
|Colne Spring Ale||Benskins (Ind Coope)|
|White Shield (natural beer’)||Worthington|
|Bass (Red Shield – ‘natural beer’)||Bass|
|Green Shield (pasteurised)||Worthington|
|Bass (Blue Triangle – pasteurised)||Bass|
|Mackeson (milk stout)||Mackeson (Whitbread)|
|Guinness Extra Stout||Guinness|
|Russian Stout||Barclay’s (Courage)|
|Draught beers (cask)||Brand|
|Mild ale (XX)||Brewery’s own|
|Draught beers (keg)||Brand|
|Red Barrel||Watney Mann|
|Red Hand||Ind Coope|
|Apple Vintage Wine||Merrydown|
|Soft drinks and mixers||Brand|
|Buxton (water)||Buxton Mineral Water Co.|
|Tio Pepe (sherry)||González Byass|
|Dry Fly (sherry)||Imported by Findlater Mackie Todd|
|Double Century (sherry)||Pedro Domecq|
|Celebration Cream (sherry)||Pedro Domecq|
|Bristol Cream (sherry)||Harvey’s|
|Bristol Milk (sherry)||Harvey’s|
|Bristol Dry (sherry)||Harvey’s|
|Various sherries||Wiliams and Humbert|
|Carlito (sherry)||Wiliams and Humbert|
|Dry Sack (sherry)||Wiliams and Humbert|
|Canasta Cream (sherry)||Wiliams and Humbert|
|Walnut Brown (sherry)||Wiliams and Humbert|
|Port||Croft, Dow, Fonseca, Cockburn, Sandeman, Warre, Rebello Valente, Taylor, etc.|
|Champagne||Ayala, Bollinger, Clicquot, Goulet, Heidsieck, Pol Roger, Moet, etc.|
|London Dry Gin||Squires|
|London Dry Gin||Cornhill|
|Caroni Rum||Tate & Lyle|
|Lemon Hart Rum||United Rum Merchants|
|Lamb’s Navy Rum||United Rum Merchants|
|Daiquiri Rum||United Rum Merchants|
|Various brandies||Martell, Hennessy, Otard, Courvoisier, Remy Martin, etc.|
|Bitters and aperitifs||Brand|
Now, clearly, you wouldn’t find all of these in every pub but, per the original query, if you included these brands as dressing for a film set in 1965, they’d probably look appropriate.
So, that’s the boring list. What about other, sexier sources? Advertising from the period, for example…
…or beer mats…
… or old photos.
In the above pic, also from 1965, we can’t make out many brands but we’ve definitely got Watney’s Red Barrel, Double Diamond and something not on Mr Coombs’s list, Tia Maria.