Shepherd Neame may be Britain’s oldest brewer, but that doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the past. The last year has seen some exciting developments at the Kent-based brewery.
Sheps is now brewing more beer – and more styles of beer – than ever before. The past twelve months has seen the introduction of several Classic Collection beers based on recipes from the archives, these include India Pale Ale, Double Stout and Brilliant Ale in bottle and cask. There was also a cask Mild in May and a Porter will follow in the winter.
The last year also saw the introduction of Samuel Adams Boston Lager with brewing partners the Boston Beer Company, meaning UK beer drinkers are getting fresher Boston Lager than ever before. The brewery is now importing a select range of seasonal ales from the Boston Beer Company and will be making an exclusive announcement at #EBBC13 that will see even more of their beers being made available in the UK – we’ll also be giving attendees a chance to toast this announcement with a taste of the latest Samuel Adams Utopia.
June saw the introduction of a new range of Whitstable Bay beers from Shepherd Neame’s offshoot brand the Faversham Steam Brewery. Veering away from Sheps’ distinct house style, these beers have given the brewers the chance to experiment and devise some thoroughly modern ales and lagers, with a strikingly modern look. The range includes a Pale Ale, Organic Ale and Blonde Lager, with a Black Lager planned for later in the year.
Probably the most exciting news of the year was the scrapping of the beer duty escalator and the 1p reduction in beer duty. The brewery’s chief executive, Jonathan Neame, started campaigning against this punitive tax regime in 2007 and the brewery was heartened to see what could be achieved through unity, in the name of supporting beer.
The brewery is nestled among the hop gardens of Kent (where it sources 95% of its ales’ hops) the fifth-generation family business has an estate of 350 pubs and hotels across London and the South East. They regularly produce more than 20 ales and six lagers. They also have regular bespoke brews in their pilot plant and are part of the Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight where 20 Kent brewers come together to produce green (fresh, un-dried) hop beers in the first fortnight in October.
Shepherd Neame has been a loyal supporter of beer bloggers and the EBBC, and we are pleased to welcome them to Edinburgh as a sponsor. To keep up with all the goings-on at Shepherd Neame, check them out on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and subscribe to their blog, and make sure to meet up with them at the conference and to try one of their fine beers.