There were food shortages in Britain in WW I, but nothing like those in Germany and Austria.
"Price of Milk in Hungary.
The introduction of maximum prices for milk by the authorities Buda Pest have excited much apprehension in Vienna. The official price for a litre bottle of milk in Buda Pest is 56 hellers (5.6 pence), which is eight hellers more than the present prices in Vienna.
The maximum price in the Hungarian capital represents an advance of ten hellers (a penny), and is avowedly made to stimulate production and increase consignments of milk to the city. Of the 600,000 litres of milk daily consumed in Vienna, at least one-sixth comes from Hungary, consequently the Viennese fear that the higher prices there will tend to divert this milk to Buda Pest.
The situation is the more critical just now as the milk contracts with the farmers and peasants are made for a year from April 1, and agents from both capitals will be competing to secure new contracts.
According to Bohemian papers, Austria is about prohibit the expert of beer in the interests of the home consumers. Such breweries, however, as during the years 1911-12 and 1912-13 sent beer abroad to neutral European countries and to Austria's Allies, may still export, but those who supplied only enemy countries and America will be excluded.
This new prohibition will affect chiefly, and indeed almost exclusively, the Pilsener breweries, which export a large proportion of their output, while the other Austrian breweries have only 6 per cent. of the total exports.
The Pilsener breweries will be permitted to export 30 per cent. of their production, which is now only 40 per cent. of the original quantity, so that the new exports will amount to 12 per cent. of the output of normal years.
Wood of all kinds is becoming very scarce and very dear in Austria. Ordinary soft woods have doubled in price, and fire wood has gone up nearly as much. Enormous quantities of wood have been used for military purposes, such as buildings, barracks, and hospitals, and even more in the reconstruction of the towns and villages destroyed in the war zone."
Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough - Thursday 30 March 1916, page 6.
It's odd how they didn't allow breweries who had exported to the Allies to export beer. Though I'm more surprised that they were exporting beer at all. The most impressive statistic is that Pilsner breweries were responsible for 94% of Austrian beer exports.
I'm really happy to find that figure for beer production. Down to just 40% of its pre-war level. Let's see how that compares with the situation in the UK:
|Summary of changes in WW I|
|Duty||Standard barrels||Bulk barrels||Average OG||Average price|
|s.||d.||England & Wales||per pint|
|The Brewers' Almanack 1928 pages 100 and 110.|
Beer output fell between 1914 and 1916, but not by a ridiculous amount. Especially in terms of bulk barrels, i.e. the actual amount of beer. Though the standard barrel number indicates the reduction in materials used.
|Drop in beer output|
|period||standard barrels||bulk barrels|
|1914 to 1916||15.99%||14.51%|
|1914 to 1917||26.16%||19.69%|
But things quickly got much worse in Bohemia:
"ENEMY'S FOOD CRISIS.Brewing ground to a complete halt:
HOW ROUMANIAN INTERVENTION HAS REDUCED SUPPLIES.
The stoppage of Roumanian supplies has already caused an aggravation of the food shortage troubles both in Germany and Austria.
In Germany the allowance of butter per person has been reduced to eighty grammes (less than three ounces) per week. From the end of September there will be three meatless days per week instead of two.
Austria has already introduced three meatless days instead of two. The brewing beer will stopped in Austria. This will strike a destructive blow to the remaining prosperity of Pilsen. Bread rations will have to be reduced Germany and Austria."
Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser - Wednesday 20 September 1916, page 1.
"All breweries in the beer producing town of Pilsen, Bohemia, have been closed owing to lack of supplies."
Newcastle Journal - Saturday 23 September 1916, page 4.
Beer might have ended up pretty thin and watery in Britain, but at least there was beer.