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Beer, Hops and Coal


From the Dover Express, 24 February 1950.


There's more to growing hops than meets the eye, and even greater importance attaches to the drying of the hops if they are to produce good beer.

For those who like that beverage there was consequently considerable interest in the Wednesday's discussion by the County Council on the particular type of coal which enables the kilns to get the best out of the hops, and of the difficulties which farmers had faced in this matter.

Alderman L. Doubleday, whose name is by no means unknown in the world of hop-growers, said that during the last year or two the great difficulty had been experienced in procuring, under the new regime, coal, from the proper seams, and many growers had been recipients of coal quite unsuitable for the purpose.

The County Food and Drugs department was asked to set up an organisation to analyse the coal, and he thought it could be said that during the last season they were of considerable assistance to hop growers in the county.

Now he had a copy of a letter sent to a grower by British Anthracite Sales Ltd., acting under the National Coal Board and he was extremely perturbed by the position revealed.

Alderman Doublday read an extract from the letter which said "The National Coal Board are so satisfied with the suitability of the coal that would be sent out that any analysis made by the Kent County Analyst or any other analyst would not be accepted." It added that there would therefore be no question of replacement of any wagons of coal.

Hitherto, the hop grower had been able to send his sample to the county analyst and be sure that the analyst would be accepted, Mr. Doubleday said. He felt that this action by a Government Department was, to say the least, high handed.

Mr. W. L. Parry, Chairman of the Food and Drugs Committee, said he understood the letter Alderman Doubleday had read stated that during the coming season supplies of coal for this purpose would be limited to one particular small Colliery, and then went on to say, as Alderman Doubleday had read out, that they were satisfied that any analyst would not be accepted.