Originally Posted by lewishowardm3
I just been watching a programme on tv here in the uk called "wartime farm" and they was making potato beer. I learnt that the reason they used potatoes is because in the 2nd world war malt barley was scarce in Britain and winston Churchill did not want beer to be rationed so they used potatoes.
I watched the programme and it didn't look to me as if that method would work. They just seemed to be boiling up the pototoes. Maybe I missed something.
Potatoes were used a little in WW II but in the form of potato flour. It wasn't greatly popular with brewers. After a bumper crop of oats in 1942 the government forced brewers to use 10% oats in their grists for a while. Mostly flaked oats, but sometimes malted oats. You even see weird grains like rye turning up in beers.
Britain was very lucky with the weather during the middle war years and had record harvests.
While beer itself wasn't rationed, the ingredients to brew it were. Breweries were allocated a certain amount of malt and hops based on how much they had brewed pre-war. It meant that there were often shortages of beer. Pubs were obliged to open for the permitted hours whether they had any beer to sell or not.
There were shortages of bottles, crates, crown corks and just about everything else a brewery needed. The shortage of bottles led to a big shift in packaging from bottled to draught. Breweries often wouldn't deliver new supplies of bottled beers without getting back an equivalent number of empties and crates first.