23 MARCH 1918, Page 11



SIR,—Mr. J. R. Clynes in defending the continued output of beer on Tuesday week said that- " Under the conditions which he had announced, the alcoholic strength of beer would be brought down to less than three per cent. A recent Manifesto of the Strength of Britain Movement recommended that breweries should brew only light beers con- taining not more than two per cent. of alcohol. It seemed him that there was but little margin between the two policies." It is true that we have suggested in the past that " the brewers could be fully employed so far as war conditions admit in the manufacture of light non-intoxicating beers," which would absorb, so we are informed, only one-fourth of the food required for heavier beers. It is also true that we use the qualifying phrase " so far as war conditions admit," and that in our deputation to Dr. Addison on January 8th last we stated : " We are not al the moment in favour of the use of food in the production of any kind of beer as we understand the food position is very serious." In America the brewers have succeeded in producing beer of far less alcoholic strength than two per cent., but Mr. Clynes lux taken our maximum and compared it with his intended minimum. Since the Ministry of Food say that they are preparing for bread rationing, then it is quite clear that the Government has no morn! right to use brewing materials for the forthcoming year equiva- lent to 500,000 tons of shipping, especially as nearly a year's supply of bread for the whole population has already been destroyed by the brewers and distillers. It is the sheerest folly to continue this destruction, even if it entails only a further five weeks' supply of bread. The entire suspension of the liquor traffic is the only remedy to meet the present situation. It ought to have been enacted long ago, and every week's delay aggravates the indefensibility, not to say the criminality, of the present Government policy.—I am, Sir, &c.,

175 Piccadilly, W.1.