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How did the war affect beer production during World War II? This is a follow-up question to this question at Seasoned Advice, which is gathering interesting food-science answers but which are are short on historical perspective and long on historical speculation.

This source cites various brewer's almanacs for evidence that beer strength suffered during WW2, but doesn't indicate why. Of course there were supply issues, but what and why (and what substitutions might have been made) are the interesting details that would help support or discredit the answers the original Seasoned Advice question is getting. And besides supply, there could have been political, social, or rationing pressures on how beer was produced and distributed.

So speculation aside, how did the war affect beer? Lingering after-effects of the war might be interesting, but that's not the main point of this question.

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There was a hangover.... –  JoeHobbit Aug 14 '12 at 7:07
    
The men were all fighting, who was to drink beer? :) –  Russell Aug 18 '12 at 11:20
    
@Russell Wow. Saying that out in public must be embarrassing. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 18 '12 at 15:59
    
I'd expect that the grain rationing mentioned below would of had a large effect on it - as would of the re-tooling of manufacturing to build war material and the need for more people to be building tanks than brewing beer. It's an interesting question. :-) –  Kobunite Jul 15 '13 at 10:13
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2 Answers 2

http://www.oldbeers.com <- contacting the owners of the Pretty Things Brewery might be able to help. They have a project brewing old beer recipes.

Basing my answer off a single source (the 1945 beer recipe used by Pretty Things) it appears that there was limited variety in brewing materials as well as a lower alcohol content. It makes sense, as you can't limit the amount of beer, but you can use fewer ingredients to make the beer while rationing.

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Rationing is something that went on and would affect output and alcohol content, but I guess you could also look at things like hops production during those years, such as where it was grown, imported from or if/how it was used in brewing. –  MichaelF Nov 9 '12 at 12:36
    
Oh and rationing in the UK went on until about 1953 or so, so if there are fewer records during wartime, an interested party might find useful info immediately following the war. –  user3169 Nov 10 '12 at 2:01
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also, in the united states grain rationing led to the use of further adjuncts in the beer like rice and corn. this led to the american style of "light" beer, introduced by budweiser.

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Can you cite a source? –  Felix Goldberg Jul 15 '13 at 8:03
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