February 1930 – a look at Malting at Jameson 84 years ago

In February 1930, A G Taylor, who was Company Secretary of John Jameson & Son Ltd. filled out details for a Census of Production circulated by the Government. Reassured that all information provided would be used for statistical purposes only, and that Section 14 of the Statistics Act 1926 guarded against any violation of secrecy, we can only assume he answered the questions in a full and frank manner! The particular return we have preserved in the Archive in Midleton was to collect information on the Malting Industry.

At this time Jameson had malthouses within the Bow Street distillery itself, at Anne Street and Beresford Street in Dublin, and at Distillery Yard in Drogheda.

Then, as now, the emphasis was firmly on quality. A distiller’s notebook from the early 1900’s stipulates that the best barley obtainable should be bought, and that the variety Chevalier was preferred.

For the preceding year, 1929, Jameson produced 9261 cwt of malt with a net value of £7683. It took 12,000cwt of barley costing £5735 to achieve the malt. Other expenses included 630 hours worth of electricity costing £6.9.2, £24.18.5 worth of gas and a phenomenal £268.5.0 worth of coal. 14 men were employed at this hot and sticky work, at an annual wage bill of £1112 (the working week was 56 hours by the way). They must have been running a tight ship in the Malt Houses as they managed to generate a surplus of roughly £500 on the cost of producing their malt. Certainly enough to leave the electric light running a little longer for the following year!

(cwt is short for hundredweight, a unit equivalent to roughly 50 kilos; the currency referred to here is in the form Pounds, Shillings and Pence)