Shepherd Neame: Brewery of the Year 2021
Shepherd Neame has been brewing beer in Faversham, Kent since 1698, which makes it the oldest continuous brewer in the country. Family-run since 1864, it owns more than 300 pubs and inns, mainly in Kent, London and south-east England. It supplies its ales to around 2,000 other outlets and exports to more than 35 countries….
Shepherd Neame has been brewing beer in Faversham, Kent since 1698, which makes it the oldest continuous brewer in the country. Family-run since 1864, it owns more than 300 pubs and inns, mainly in Kent, London and south-east England. It supplies its ales to around 2,000 other outlets and exports to more than 35 countries.
Beers include its flagship Master Brew, as well as Bishops Finger, Spitfire and seasonal ales; under their Faversham Steam Brewery moniker, they brew Whitstable Bay Pale Ale, Black Stout, Blonde Lager, Organic Ale and Ruby Ale. There are also Bear Island craft ales (East Coast Pale Ale and Triple Hopped Lager) and a Cask Club that offers a monthly choice described as ‘a new range of contemporary cask ales designed to satisfy the beer-curious drinker’.
The brewing process uses only chalk-filtered water from an artesian well deep beneath the brewery, with British malted barley and hops that come mainly from Kent. Sustainability is high on the company’s list of priorities: waste oil from pub kitchens is converted into biofuel, grain and hop waste is recycled as animal food, all cardboard packaging is 100% recyclable, and high-tech cask, keg and bottling lines minimise the use of natural resources.
‘Sheps’, as the brewery is fondly known, employs nearly 300 people with some local workers being the fourth or fifth generation of the same family to work for the company. Shepherd Neame also supports a network of farmers, fishermen and food producers throughout Kent and the South East to ensure their pub menus champion fresh local food, and by investing in their listed buildings they aim to preserve ancient crafts including thatching, stonemasonry, traditional carpentry and glass etching.
In order to help protect employees, licensees and the company during the coronavirus lockdown in 2020, the directors took a temporary 20% pay cut, suspended rent receipts, cancelled the shareholder dividend and ceased all non-contractual capital expenditure in the brewery and throughout the pub estate. They have been reviewing all these precautionary actions on a weekly basis and hope to return to normal business as soon as possible. Shepherd Neame is our Brewery of the Year 2021.