A couple of days ago, on October 17th, there was an anniversary of a disaster of such horrid proportions I almost decided not to write about it. The losses sustained were unimaginable and the destruction immeasurable. Almost no one knew that there was even any danger. It simply happened and the world will never be the same because of it.
On October 17, 1814 at the Meux & Co’s Horse Shoe Brewery in London a monstrous maturing tank holding more than 125,000 gallons of aging porter ruptured, flooding the brewery, overturning other tanks, flooding the streets of the poor parish of St. Giles. The tank was made of oak and was held together by 800 pound metal hoops. It stood over 22 feet tall and was large enough in circumference to host a 200 person dinner inside. On that fateful day, one of the hoops failed and within hours, unbeknownst to the brewery’s staff, the entire structure of the tank suffered a catastrophic failure. The wall of beer that poured from the brewery crested at 15 feet causing two buildings to collapse and injured eight people. Reports of massive headaches the following morning were reported by dozens more.
I propose that we take a moment this morning to think about the senseless and ghastly waste of that day’s events. Take a moment to remember the day that beer burst through the streets of London like water bursting through a dam. And most of all, take a moment to mourn the loss of nearly a million pints of otherwise health beer. It was a loss that will go down in history as one of the most disastrous and heart-breaking in brewing.