M A S T E R
BREWER Autumn 2010
Carving out a digital future sets charity target www.shepherdneame.co.uk
Welcome Investments pay off through results The company has enjoyed a year of sales and profit growth against a background of a weak British economy.
This edition of Master Brewer heralds the completion of a major project to redesign and relaunch our website. This exciting initiative, which has taken over a year to plan and implement, has given Shepherd Neame more opportunities to interact with customers and potential tenants and employees in progressive and innovative ways. Combining illustrations of original linocuts with state-ofthe-art technology, the website communicates our traditional values while giving browsers the benefits of easy-to use online shopping, enhanced search facilities and online booking for accommodation and tours. Each Shepherd Neame pub now has its own site, allowing tenants and managers to tell their customers about special events and offers. In addition, the licensees of the future will be able to find out all they need to know about running a Shepherd Neame pub in an enhanced recruitment section. It has also been a very busy year for Spitfire. After launching its own new website in the spring, Spitfire has run the very successful Operation Landlord competition for licensees across the UK and is now seeking to raise a significant amount for service charities in a campaign to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. While archivist John Owen revisits the history of wines and spirits trading in Faversham, we bring things up to date with the launch of a new distinctive wine from South Africa by Todd’s the Wine Company. The company’s history will also be represented in a unique timeline at the Museum of London and our rich tradition has been recognised with a Coutts Prize for Family Business. Further achievements across the business have been celebrated with industry awards for innovation in our working practices, pouring the perfect pint and the quality of service in our pubs and hotels.
Jonathan Neame Chief Executive Shepherd Neame
Turnover was up 5.4% to £115.4m while operating profit before exceptionals increased by 25% to £11.9m. Profit before tax went up 25.5% to £8.7m. Key sales indicators have been strong across the business, with total beer volume up 4.8%, own beer volume up 3.8%, retail like-for-like sales up 0.7% and like-for-like food sales up 3.9%. Following two difficult years, investments in new pubs, a bottling line and new IT systems are bearing fruit, with the 2009 pub purchases performing well, all bottling now undertaken in-house, improved use of capacity and lower unit costs in production. The programme of brewery modernisation and improved business processes has delivered a number of benefits including the ability to meet demand without outsourcing bottling; improved volumes and stock turn; improved product availability, order fulfilment and customer satisfaction and reduced utility costs per unit. The company’s beer is better and fresher, packaging quality is excellent and more efficient processes are making it possible to manage costs more effectively. Chairman Miles Templeman commented: “The pubs and brewery are well invested and the brand portfolio is well regarded and in growth. The business is highly cash generative, has robust longterm financing in place and has ample facilities to take advantage of future market opportunities.”
Beer and pubs under the Coalition The Coalition government has made a number of key policy statements on alcohol sales and taxation. Chief executive Jonathan Neame responds with Shepherd Neame’s views. Coalition: We will ban the sale of alcohol below cost price. Shepherd Neame: We do not condone any irresponsible promotions in either the off or the on trade nor want any of our products sold below cost. It is socially irresponsible and erodes brand equity and the premium positioning of brands. Mandatory conditions are now in force in the on trade, which include provisions not to conduct irresponsible promotions in selling alcohol, but such conditions do not apply to promotions in the off trade. We support the principle of a prohibition of below-cost selling. However, the challenge is to define cost in a manner that is fair and transparent, does not put unreasonable administrative burdens on suppliers and does not infringe competition law by exposing commercially sensitive supplier prices. We do not support the proposal put forward by some that it should be based on duty and VAT alone, nor do we support any system which may give rise to further increases in excise duty. Coalition: We will review alcohol taxation and pricing to ensure it tackles binge drinking without unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries. Shepherd Neame: We welcome a Government review of alcohol taxation and pricing. Duty hikes have increased the price of beer in pubs but supermarkets have either insisted that producers absorb increases or have absorbed the increases themselves. For example, over the last seven years, beer duty has risen by over 40%, and pub beer prices have increased by 28%. But, supermarket prices have actually decreased over the same period, making alcohol cheaper to consumers. Since 1997, beer has seen the greatest increases in excise duty in real terms and there has been more than a 20% decline in consumption, while vodka and cider have enjoyed decreases in real terms. This has resulted in a
squeeze on brewers’ and the on trade’s margins. Out of the total producer and retailer ‘profit pool’ in beer, the Government now takes 86%. We believe that current excise duty policy – particularly for beer – is not only unfair and misguided, but also unsustainable. Furthermore, we believe that alcohol policy should promote the consumption of drinks with the lowest concentration of alcohol by volume, i.e. beer, in a controlled environment, i.e. pubs, rather than home consumption of ‘hard liquor’. Coalition: We will overhaul the Licensing Act to give local authorities and the police much stronger powers to remove licences from, or refuse to grant licences to, any premises that are causing problems. Shepherd Neame: While we support the principle of ensuring local communities have the powers they need to tackle anti-social behaviour, we are concerned by some of the proposals being put forward in the White Paper, which include a shift in authority to police and local authorities. We do not believe that it is right, fair or good governance to remove fundamental legal protections that all businesses and citizens have a right to enjoy, in a peremptory rush to stamp out irresponsible behaviour by a small minority of individuals and licensed premises. We do not support the proposal to give powers to councils to further hike licence fees. Coalition: We will allow councils and the police to shut down permanently any shop or bar found to be persistently selling alcohol to children. Shepherd Neame: We are very supportive of the aims and objectives of the licensing regime. We are committed to high standards of responsible retailing, and understand that it is our responsibility to comply with the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003. As a company we have consistently supported and promoted Challenge 21 and other educational initiatives to combat the sale of alcohol to the under-aged.
We do not hesitate to condemn premises that consistently flout the law, and believe that they should be penalised and, if necessary, closed down. This is right and proper and can be done now, even without the specific offence of persistent selling. Coalition: We will double the maximum fine for under-age alcohol sales to £20,000. Shepherd Neame: Under the Licensing Act, an offence of selling to under 18s already carries a fine up to £20,000. The additional offence for ‘persistent’ selling was introduced later. Training in this area is already provided by the BII and the Trading Standards Institute and we believe licensing authorities could sensibly make Training Orders against offending businesses to ensure that quality training is provided to its staff. Coalition: We will permit local councils to charge more for late-night licences to pay for additional policing. Shepherd Neame: The industry is firmly of the view that a working partnership with the police, enforcement agencies and planners, together with others who have a responsibility for town centres, is the best way to deal with and reduce crime and disorder. The hospitality sector has provided support and active participation in such initiatives as Best Bar None, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), Pubwatch and Clubwatch. Progress is being achieved through the Kent Community Alcohol Partnership where all relevant authorities and trade participants work together to identify the root causes of alcohol-related disorder in individual local communities. Shepherd Neame is an active partner in this initiative and believes that this local targeted approach is by far the most effective route to tackle such issues.
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Net gain as new website goes live Shepherd Neameâ€™s new website is now live, giving customers, licensees and prospective tenants easy access to more information in a hugely enhanced online experience. The look and functionality of the site has been dramatically changed to improve useability and to make it much easier to navigate what now amounts to hundreds of pages. David Walton, from creative agency Libertine, said: â€œThe new site has been designed to bring alive the traditional values and modern approach that Shepherd Neame wanted to convey. Its look, feel and cutting edge functionality provides them with an exciting, flexible platform from which they can grow the business and the brand further.â€? The site has many interactive features, including easier online shopping, better search facilities, online accommodation booking and new marketing tools for licensees. All the pages have a distinctive new look which combines original artwork, clear design and striking animations.
Shopping online The site has an attractive new online shop, which is customer-friendly and easy to use. The fresh design is easier to browse, to search for products and to make purchases. The shop continues to offer a wide range of Shepherd Neame ales and lagers, exclusive wines by the case, quality clothing, hampers, and a huge variety of beer-themed gifts, novelties and food. Full details of brewery tours, special events and short breaks can be browsed at leisure with the opportunity to check availability and prices before booking places online.
Customers may also use the website to investigate and purchase a wide range of gift certificates to treat their friends and relatives. A selection of brewery tour gift certificates is available, from a basic tour to a two-night break. Brewery tours may be combined with trips to other nearby attractions and stays at good quality Shepherd Neame pubs and hotels in the area. Before taking a tour, browsers can now learn a little about how beer is made by viewing a stylish animation of the brewing process, using original images created as linocuts for the project by Faversham artist Hugh Ribbans (see separate article).
The new Spitfire website has won two gold awards at the W3 Awards in New York. The site, styled to look like a cockpit, was rewarded with top honours in the Branding and Food and Beverage sections of the General Website Category of the awards, which celebrate online creative excellence around the world.
Traditional ales, distinctive lagers and exclusive wines The site has comprehensive details of all the beers and lagers brewed by Shepherd Neame, both cask and bottled, complemented by tasting notes from beer writer Ben McFarland. There is also an introduction to the huge selection of wines and spirits that make up the company’s broad portfolio, including exclusive wines from small growers and independent wineries around the world. Online shoppers can buy cases of ale or wine, with the opportunity to “mix and match” selected brands of whites and reds. The site has links to Todd’s the Wine Company and the new Spitfire website, launched earlier this year.
Pubs and hotels Finding the right pub or hotel to visit has never been easier, using a dedicated search engine with 10 different categories. Fields include food, accommodation, function facilities, outdoor areas, live music, Sky Sports, real fires and historic buildings speeding up your search and making sure you find just the kind of pub or hotel you are looking for.
So, for instance, if you are looking for an historic pub with a real fire and live music in Guildford, The Star could top the list while if you were seeking a pub with a garden, accommodation and good food in Faversham, The Sun might pop up first. The pubs pages are linked to individual websites, one for each pub, which have their own web addresses. Each pub entry on the main site has details of opening times, directions, facilities, nearby attractions and a little of the pub’s heritage. There are also details of the pub’s food and drink offer, menus, function rooms, events and accommodation, including the chance to book rooms online. Those licensees previously without their own site now have sophisticated marketing tools at their disposal to develop their own website, which they can use to tell their customers about special events, guest beers and new menus. They can also communicate with their customers through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Social media Shepherd Neame ales are building up a fanbase in the world of social networking. Facebook pages now exist for Shepherd Neame, Spitfire, Bishops Finger, Master Brew, Oranjeboom and Canterbury Jack, carrying the latest news and views and inviting people to become fans. ‘shepherdneame’ The website features quick links to both Facebook and Twitter. The feeds are: twitter.com – follow @shepherd_neame twitter.com – follow @spitfire
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The brewery’s newly-appointed digital marketing executive, James Purcell, said: “We have already run an exclusive T-shirt competition for Spitfire fans and we hope to expand that idea further. The website offers a lot more functionality and we are looking at ways to enhance our online presence, perhaps with virals and other social networking methods.”
Conferences, weddings and educational trips The visitor centre is a great venue for weddings, parties and corporate events and organisers can view pictures of the rooms and use the site to research and plan their function with all the information they need at their fingertips. As well as information on brewery tours for tourists and beer enthusiasts, with online booking available, the site explains how teachers in a range of subject areas can use the brewery for educational tours.
The X factor - discovering tomorrowâ€™s licensees As well as providing a potent marketing tool for current licensees, the site has a comprehensive recruitment section designed to attract the tenants and managers of the future. It includes all the detailed information a prospective manager or tenant needs to know about the qualities required to run a pub, including application procedures, qualifications, training and investment. Video clips of real-life licensees are featured in a quiz allowing aspiring licensees to rate their suitability for a career behind the bar before making a formal commitment. There is also a job search facility, listing vacancies in the pub estate and the brewery as well as pub vacancies for potential tenants to consider.
Heritage and values The new site uses modern web presentation techniques to create a fascinating timeline of the companyâ€™s history using photographs, paintings and illustrations dating back more than 400 years. Shepherd Neame has delved into its vast archive of pictures and documents to bring a wealth of previously unpublished material to the site, tracing the story of brewing in Faversham from its earliest origins to the present day. Browsers can also learn about the companyâ€™s values, particularly with regard to responsible retailing, sustainable manufacturing and working with the local community.
Hugh Ribbans – linocuts online The man behind the distinctive graphic artwork on the new Shepherd Neame website is Faversham artist Hugh Ribbans.
Beer, health and nutrition Beer is one of the world’s most popular drinks, consumed by millions for pleasure and refreshment. A section of the site tells the story of beer’s contribution to an active, healthy lifestyle, with information on moderate beer consumption and health, calories and nutrition. It describes the natural products that go to make up beer – water, wholegrain barley, hops and yeast – and the qualities each of those ingredients bring to a healthy diet and the fight against diseases such as heart conditions and cancer. A section on beer and calories debunks the myth of the beer belly, directly comparing the number of calories in a range of popular drinks with those in beer. There is also a piece by head brewer David Holmes, explaining the role played by hops in delivering flavour and aroma to beer.
Hugh trained at Canterbury College of Art and runs a graphic design business from his studio in Forbes Road. Relief printmaking was his craft subject at college, particularly the traditional art of linocutting, and, in 1989, he purchased a restored Columbian press, built about 1830. He now spends as much time as his graphic work allows, producing woodcuts and linocuts, mixing heavily grained wood – often driftwood – and lino in his prints. It is entirely appropriate that Britain’s oldest brewer should be marrying traditional skills with cutting edge technology. So how did the craft of linocutting find its way on to the world wide web? “It started when I had some work on show in the Three Mariners at Oare,” said Hugh. “Jonathan Neame bought two of my prints and asked me if I could create a work for the board room showing elements of the brewing process, which became The A-Z of Brewing. “It’s a good subject for an artist. There is a big craft element all the way through the process of making linocuts and woodcuts which sits very well with brewing. It was this piece of work that prompted Shepherd Neame to approach me with the idea of creating linocuts for the website.” After each print was completed, it was photographed digitally and high quality files were uploaded to the web design team. Hugh’s regular subject matter is derived from images of animals and birds, often with a stylised treatment much influenced by ethnic art and his graphics background. His work for the Shepherd Neame website has the same distinctive feel but he has had the additional challenge of depicting many diverse aspects of the business, from heritage and company values to shopping and accommodation. Hugh said: “I started my research by having a look round the brewery a few times and then visiting lots of pubs before researching image references on the internet, from Spitfires to oast houses.” He has produced nine major illustrations, with a variety of themes, as well as what he calls “cameo” pictures to illustrate certain sections of the text. “Some are much simpler than others,” he said. “I like to employ humour, such as one for the shopping page that shows someone trying on a jumper that is too big for him.” Hugh has exhibited at the Barbican Gallery, the National Theatre, the National Print Exhibition, the Printmakers Council Open, The Society of Wood Engravers, the Society of Wildlife Artists and the Affordable Artfair. People interested in seeing more of Hugh’s work can visit his website: www.hughribbans.com
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Brewery wins family business award Shepherd Neame was named ‘Best UK Family Business’ in the £25m+ turnover category of the Coutts Prize for Family Business 2009/10, held at Coutts’ head office on The Strand in London. Roger Pedder, national chairman of the evaluation committee, praised Shepherd Neame for its family values, strong governance, investment in staff, community and charitable activities, which he said created “a real feeling of belonging, values and pride within the company”. Juliette Johnson, head of UK Family Business, Coutts & Co, added: “We’re delighted to provide recognition to this special family business and showcase their achievements for the benefit of other family businesses. “What really shines through is the strength of the family’s values and how these have acted as the glue binding the family and business together for over 300 years. These strong values, coupled with their innovative approach and long-term vision, should give them the best possible chance to weather this current economic downturn.” Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame said: ‘This is testimony to the hard work and dedication by this and previous generations of employees who have all shared our passion for our products and commitment to the business.’
Jonathan Neame receives the award from Coutts CEO Michael Morley, watched by (left to right) Fran Lester, Tom Falcon, Lucie Neame, Robert Neame, Yvonne Neame and June Mitchell.
OnTrack for customer service Shepherd Neame tenants continue to serve the perfect pint, according to our customers. The company scooped two accolades at the OnTrack Awards for delivering a great pint and excellent customer service in our pubs. The OnTrack survey, conducted by the research and consulting company him!, involved questioning more than 4,000 customers throughout British pubs to judge the quality of service. As a result, Shepherd Neame won Best Pub Retailer for Quality of Serve and for Efficient Service, scoring highly on such factors as waiting time and cleanliness.
Nigel Bunting, Shepherd Neame retail director, said: “We are delighted to win these OnTrack awards for customer service. They are especially pleasing as they were decided by customers. These accolades are testament to our commitment to training, to high standards of customer service and to serving a great pint.” Tom Fender, director at him! said: “It reflects the focus and dedication of the company to excel in these areas.”
Beer’s not to blame for weight gain With just four ingredients, Britain’s beer is as healthy as it is tasty Telegraph columnist Jonathan Ray espouses the virtues of beer – especially when it’s raining Summer’s almost done. And although it hasn’t been a bad one, I seem to have had more than my fair share of rain. Seven days in Portmeirion, for example, was seven days of downpour. We began to feel like the Prisoner himself. A week in the Scilly Isles wasn’t much better. The upside, though, is that I’ve kept my middle-age spread pretty much under wraps. No half naked disporting on the beach for me, frightening the horses. I managed to shed several stone a couple of years ago but, maddeningly, I find that one of them has crept surreptitiously back, partly due to lack of exercise and partly due to diet. I put it down to drinking too much beer over the past few weeks, either sheltering in the pub from another Welsh waterspout or watching the World Cup. My old friend Rupert Ponsonby, a founder of the Beer Academy, disagrees.
it to graduate from Bob Luck’s Kentish Cider to Shep’s, he astutely played the health card. Beer was good for my bones, he’d tell me, and full of vitamins. Lead in my pencil and all that. Get it down you lad! And I did and soon came to love it, downing it by the bucketload along with uber-nourishing pints of Guinness. I simply glowed with health. After all, beer is a rich source of soluble fibre, with just two glasses providing more than 30 per cent of our required daily intake; it is full of easily absorbed antioxidants, rich in all sorts of vitamin B and high in potassium. Half a pint of beer has just 95 calories compared to 193 for a large glass of wine or 171 for a double G & T. It is also, when you think about it, a low alcohol drink (95 per cent of it is water), with premium lager, say, usually little more than five per cent volume, around a third the strength of a hearty California zinfandel or Australian chardonnay. “It’s a veritable health drink!” exclaims Rupert Ponsonby. “Have a chicken salad with lots of tomatoes and lettuce alongside your beer, and you’ll stay handsome and trim forever. Just stay off the peanuts.” Being a wine drinker has taught me how better to enjoy my beer. Apart from the occasional “sesh” in the pub, I now treat it like wine. I drink it out of small glasses rather than pints and I have different beers with different dishes. Where I would normally have a white wine with a first course I might have a crisp, clean Asahi Super Dry Lager; in place of a red wine with the main it might be Innis & Gunn Original or a Jenlain Ambrée from France. And instead of a dessert wine how about a fruit beer such as Liefmans Cuvée Brut? And Harviestoun Ola Dubh, a porter aged in Highland Park whisky barrels, is a shoo-in as the digestif. All I need do is cut out the early morning orange juice and I might even be able to kiss that spare tyre goodbye.
First published in the Telegraph 27 August 2010. Reproduced with permission. Jonathan Ray, The Daily Telegraph • 28th August 2010 © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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“There’s no fat in beer and no cholesterol either, and it’s ridiculously low in calories and carbs,” he says. “Your spare tyre is probably due to all those pork scratchings you ate alongside your pint or even due to your breakfast orange juice which, health clubs please note, does contain fat.” He could be right. After all, beer is about as healthy and natural a drink as you can find, made simply from water, hops, yeast and barley. Nothing alarming there and no need for flavour enhancers or chemicals. “Given its myriad flavours, beer has a remarkably simple make up,” says Nigel Lambe, a man so fond of his beer that he recently bought a brewery, WJ King in Horsham, West Sussex. “When I first arrived here I went into the ingredients room and found only hops and malted barley, and a fridge with the brewery’s own unique strain of yeast. I naively asked where the rest of the ingredients were, the colouring agents, the flavourings and so on. They looked at me as if I was mad and said that all that was missing was the water.” WJ King’s is a fine brew and looks set to remain so with Ian Burgess, formerly the long-time number two at Harveys of Lewes, my local brewery and one of my favourites, now head brewer. “Beer is natural, healthy, nonfattening and, when drunk in moderation, good for you,” Lambe insists. “It won’t put weight on, although the accompanying crisps and chip butties might. It’s also our national drink and should be supported as such. Contrary to popular belief, about 90 per cent of beer sold in Britain is made here, often using local ingredients. Certainly, at WJ King’s we would never dream of using anything other than local hops and barley and pure Sussex water.” Brought up amid the hop gardens of Kent, I was introduced to the local Shepherd Neame’s Bishops Finger at a tender age by my father. Noticing how much of a struggle I was finding
A bird in the hand... The brewery has acquired The Parrot, in Church Lane, Canterbury, an historic pub perfectly known for its warm hospitality and fine ales. Formerly known as Simple Simons, the pub is thought to be one of the oldest buildings in Canterbury, having been built upon Roman foundations in 1370. It features excellent food, fine ales and a range of entertainment, as well as a very vocal grey parrot called Burt. Licensee Chris Boorman and his wife Victoriya had worked as managers at The Parrot for two years and are continuing their good work as tenants. Chris said: “We have a very good chef and a particularly good team in the kitchen. The food is traditional British fare but with our own touch. This includes serving steaks on grill stones, so it is cooked at your table. We keep six Shepherd Neame ales and I say that if you can’t find one you like, then you don’t like beer.” The Parrot will maintain its strong tradition for live music with jazz nights once a week, as well as stand-up comedy performances and even an occasional opera singer.
Acquisit Kind Hearts and Carvery The brewery has acquired the Cock Inn, Boughton Monchelsea, an historic pub featured in the classic 1949 Ealing comedy, Kind Hearts and Coronets, starring Alec Guinness. Run by Jo and Dave Whitehurst, the Cock Inn is a ‘chocolate box’ Elizabethan building with exposed beams, an inglenook fireplace and a beautiful restaurant, which dates back to at least 1558 and possibly earlier. The pub continues to attract customers with its range of Shepherd Neame ales - Dave is to visit the brewery to create a bespoke “tenant’s brew” - and its good food. Jo said: “It is traditional English cooking. So, for example, we serve such dishes as pork belly, lamberry pie – consisting
of lamb and cranberries – and lamb shank. We specialise in local produce and our Sunday roasts are legendary. “We have a large fish menu and alongside our extensive menu we have a substantial specials board, which changes daily.” Shepherd Neame’s property and tenanted trade director, George Barnes, said: “The Cock Inn is a delightful village inn and a wonderful addition to our estate. We are confident that its reputation for good food, ales and hospitality will continue to grow.”
Naval heritage meets contemporary style at the Ship and Trades The Ship and Trades at Chatham Maritime has been reinvigorated with a £400,000 refurbishment. Dating from 1875, the Ship and Trades’ basic structure is a steel frame that once housed dockyard offices and an engineering shop. Today, the “skeleton” has been totally transformed into a modern bar, restaurant and hotel, overlooking one of the yacht basins at the former Royal Naval Dockyard. The interior has been developed into a stylish, contemporary space, completely remodelled in blue, mulberry and cream, with new fireplaces, a comfortable lounge area and two “snugs” for more intimate gatherings. Images of boats, maps and ropework celebrate the area’s nautical heritage. Comfortable furnishings and soft lighting create a relaxed, laid-back ambience, in which guests can enjoy bar meals, snacks and traditional Kentish ales, distinctive international lagers and carefully-chosen new world wines.
The first-floor restaurant, which has stunning views of the marina, offers a full range of modern dishes and traditional favourites, as well as daily chef’s specials. Outside, the Ship and Trades has ample waterfront seating overlooking the pleasure boats in the marina and across the River Medway to historic Upnor Castle. The pub’s 11 en suite letting rooms make the Ship and Trades the perfect base to explore Dickens World, The Historic Dockyard Chatham and the Dockside Outlet Shopping Centre. It is also just a mile from historic Rochester, with its Norman castle and ancient cathedral.
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Refurbishment hits right note for turns The Star, a Grade II listed pub in Guildford, has been given a £400,000 refurbishment by Shepherd Neame. One of the first places to be played by The Stranglers (then The Guildford Stranglers) in the mid 1970s, The Star continues its tradition of highlighting new bands in its fully-equipped music room. The sympathetic and extensive refurbishment means that The Star has retained its historic character – it dates from around 1600 and such features as exposed beams and a large period fireplace remain. The Star Inn was chosen to host the launch party and first gig of the Oxjam national music festival. The festival, taking in venues in 37 cities and towns, raises funds to supply invaluable equipment to needy communities the world over, including emergency shelters, classrooms and safe drinking water.
The revitalised music room now boasts a sophisticated sound system and lighting rig – and fans are flocking to enjoy the new facilities. Manager Georgina Baker said: “About 100 people attended the first gig after the refurbishment.” Live music, covering the spectrum from blues to metal and punk to indie rock, can be heard at The Star three or four times a week. A theatre group will be staging performances in November and there are plans to host stand-up comedy.
Stylish look for Joiners Arms West Malling
The traditional combines with the new at The Alma
The Joiners Arms in West Malling has a fresh, impressive new look thanks to licensee Tony Stevens’ efforts to give customers even more reasons to visit – efforts that Tony undertook himself, thanks to his background as a painter and decorator. The refurbishment – at a cost of £32,000 – has involved a major facelift for the pub, including new carpets, furniture, lighting and a freshly painted front and back, as well as new tables and chairs for the outside and the installation of Sky TV. Shepherd Neame has assisted with the renovation by supplying a canopy for the outside smoking area and a new back bar and shelving. The Joiners Arms serves a range of cask ales and stages regular music events and poker nights.
The Alma in Painters Forstal, a popular pub established in 1837, now has even more reasons to entice visitors. A refurbishment to the tune of £15,000 has seen the pub benefit from a new-look bar and restaurant, with new furniture and fireplace and paintings adorning the freshly painted walls. Darren Barrett of The Alma said: “They started work on Monday morning and they finished by Thursday evening. We are very pleased. It still has the traditional atmosphere and character and everyone thinks the refurbishment is fantastic.” The walls feature bygone photos of Kent and Shepherd Neame’s proud history, while the bar has new feature lighting resembling traditional candle-holders – a nod to The Alma’s past life when it was known as the Candle House as the landlord used to light candles so that the hop pickers could find the pub in the dark.
Animal magic The Red Lion at Charing Heath has been reinvigorated thanks to an extensive refurbishment that includes the introduction of a petting zoo. Licensees Mark and Linda Wood are delighted with the historic village pub’s overhaul, which came at a cost of well over £50,000. The pub’s regulars joined Mark and Linda for an official launch of the new-look pub, which included local businessman and long-time customer Allen Carr who pulled the evening’s first pint. Mark said: “We are very pleased – it has all been very tastefully done. We now have a new, designated restaurant area with access to the garden and a new patio, which people have been using thanks to the good weather.”
Refurbishment at Mabel’s Tavern proves popular with customers A popular London pub has been rejuvenated following an extensive refurbishment from Shepherd Neame. Mabel’s Tavern in Euston has a new lease of life thanks to the £80,000 renovation. Manager Tom Milne said: “The customers really like the look of the place. The work has improved the pub no end. People are spending more time here and the refurbishment has proved hugely popular.” The revitalised pub now boasts a renovated fireplace, new carpeting on the raised dining areas, new wallpaper and seating, refurbished toilets and a stand-out Shepherd Neame mirror behind the bar.
The pub has a new horseshoe-shaped bar, while the new restaurant area allows for more diners to be served who also benefit from a view through to the garden. Mark said: “We now have a lawned area and a small petting zoo for children. It includes two pygmy goats, a giant rabbit and a lion-faced rabbit. We are a family-oriented pub and the petting zoo has proved to be quite an attraction for the children.” The pub has maintained its character and heritage: it dates from 1562 and was officially registered under the name of the Red Lion in 1762. It was used as a Customs & Excise posting house where mail was collected and sorted.
More room with a view at carvery The Bull at Linton has expanded its dining room to include an extra 24 covers as its Sunday carvery continues to increase in popularity. Licensee Bob Garrett, who runs the historic village pub with wife Kim and daughter Tanya, said: “The kitchen had been part of the old Linton post office and at some stage became part of the pub. We had the wall knocked through to accommodate the extra covers.” The Bull, on the A229 Maidstone to Hastings road, enjoys an impressive view of the Weald and is renowned for its inglenook fireplace and period beams. Bob added: “We like to think it is the best carvery in Kent and it definitely has the best view.” The pub also has a renovated function room, thanks to a matched investment scheme with the brewery. It now boasts a new oak floor and a bar, used frequently to celebrate such events as christenings and birthdays.
Cherubs have rosier outlook at Regency Tavern One of Brighton’s best-known pubs, the Regency Tavern, has a smart new look, following a £30,000 makeover. Indeed, the character of the Grade II listed pub has been enhanced by the addition of a pianist who plays on Thursday evenings and Sundays, performing songs from the shows and light classical music. He has plans to centre more entertainment round the piano and also hires a table magician to amuse customers on special occasions.
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The Regency Tavern in Brighton dates back to 1700 when part of the pub operated as a toll, where people could pay a ha’penny to promenade around Regency Square. Licensee Paul Smith said: “The interior has been completely refurbished but the Regency Tavern is famous for its cherubs and mirrors so we would not have dreamt of taking them away. Instead we just gave them some TLC.”
City pub celebrates
400th anniversary This year the Old Doctor Butler’s Head celebrates four centuries of providing the City of London with fine food, drink and hospitality. The pub was established in 1610 but had to be rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666 and that is the structure we see today. It is the sole survivor of a number of taverns that displayed Dr Butler’s head on their signs because they dispensed his medicinal ale for curing gastric ailments. Dr Butler was a ‘specialist’ in nervous disorders, who, despite his lack of qualifications, was appointed Court Physician to James I. His bizarre “cures” included dropping the nervous through a trapdoor in London Bridge, firing a brace of pistols next to unsuspecting patients to treat epilepsy, and plunging plague victims into cold water.
A less stressful greeting awaits visitors to today’s bar, Chop House restaurant and function room which offer a good choice of traditional English food and drink in a relaxed friendly atmosphere. The pub, which overlooks one of the City’s ancient pedestrian alleys, serves a selection of up to five traditional Kentish cask ales as well as distinctive international lagers and a good range of wines by the glass. The pub has Sky TV with several screens showing most sports and a gallery of vintage Spitfire advertisements, showing the best of the ale’s tongue-incheek humour. The Old Doctor Butler’s Head features in a number of food, drink and London tourist guides and is a short walk from the Guildhall, the Bank of England and the Stock Exchange.
Sportsman hosts commemoration of last battle on English soil More than 100 people gathered at The Sportsman in Seasalter to mark the last battle fought on the British mainland. The gathering of former and current members of the London Irish Rifles was joined by army and air force cadets, wartime hero and Colditz survivor Major General Corran Purdon and the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Pat Todd, for a parade and ceremony. Licensee Phil Harris accepted a plaque which commemorates what has become known as The Battle of Graveney Marsh.
It was September 27, 1940 when members of the London Irish Rifles fought a short battle with the crew of a downed German bomber close to the pub, where they would eventually take their foe for a pint after capturing them with no loss of life on either side. The event – which saw one British soldier throw an explosive charge from the plane, meaning it was retrieved intact – was organised by Dickie Bird of the Royal British Legion and the London Irish Rifles Association.
L-R. Lord Mayor of Canterbury Pat Todd, Major General Corran Purdon, Phil Harris, Major Peter Lough
London Irish Rifles
Nigel Wilkinson, the association’s vice-chairman, said: “For a long time I thought to myself that this is really quite an historic event. It was the last action fought on British soil against invaders.”
Code of practice serves as comprehensive guide for tenants Many people dream of running their own pub but are unsure about the costs and practicalities of taking on a tenancy. Now their questions will be answered in a new document being launched by the brewery. The Code of Practice for Shepherd Neame Tenancies is a comprehensive guide to the advantages, responsibilities and commitments of running a public house.
Although the code will not replace the legal tenancy agreement, it sets out clearly and concisely how the brewery expects to work together with tenants, which party has responsibility for various areas of the business, and everything a prospective tenant needs to know before teaming up with Shepherd Neame to run one of our pubs. The code details the principles of the Shepherd Neame Tenancy Agreement, the procedure involved in taking on a pub, the difference between tenancies and leases, the benefits and services provided for licensees and procedures for rent reviews, disputes and flow monitoring equipment.
The document, compiled by property and tenanted trade director George Barnes, has been accredited by BIIBAS (British Institute of Innkeeping Benchmarking and Accreditation Services Ltd) and is due to be launched in November. Chief executive Jonathan Neame said: “We firmly believe that the Traditional Brewery Tenancy offers the right balance of low capital ingoing and flexible terms when you plan to leave the pub, with many of the major costs such as structural repairs, external signage and building insurance, and administrative burden like licensing, borne by us.”
South African Matumi extends choice of exclusive wines Todd’s, the brewery’s wine company, has extended its range this winter with the inclusion of a new brand from South Africa. New for winter 2010, Matumi is an exclusive brand made for Shepherd Neame by the Lourensford Estate. Lourensford is steeped in history and heritage but boasts an ultra-modern winery utilising technology unique in the Southern Hemisphere. The magnificent soils and diverse micro-climates create the ideal terroir for world-beating wines.
Todd’s is committed to working wherever possible with small growers and family businesses in order to manage the quality from vineyard to bottle.
Matumi Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 The family-owned property producing this wine was established just outside Cape Town in 1700. Grapes are hand-picked and the wine is aged in French oak which, with refined soft tannins, results in a wine with an abundance of blackcurrant fruit, just a hint of violet, and a smooth lasting finish.
The two Matumi wines complement Todd’s collection of high-quality wines at competitive prices from skilled winemakers in Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Chile and South Africa.
Matumi Chenin Blanc 2010 From vineyards overlooking Cape Town and False Bay, this Chenin Blanc is produced from bush vines where low yields ensure superb concentrated fruit. The aromas and flavours of peach and pear abound in this dry, elegant and rounded wine.
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Operation landlord Lucky licensees Geoff and Gina Mountain from the Three Horseshoes in Derbyshire won £30,000 in Spitfire Ale’s Operation Landlord promotion. Licensees were invited to text in a code taken from their casks of Spitfire Ale. The finalists were invited to Faversham for a three-course meal, where they each selected a random box, one of which contained the top prize and the others £250. The delighted couple opened their randomly selected box, along with 17 other finalists, to discover that they had scooped the main prize.
Spitfire sets sights on charity target Spitfire is hoping to raise more money for service charities in a special campaign marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Spitfire has donated 10p to charity for every pint sold, which will be shared equally by Help for Heroes and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. The campaign ran for two weeks in September across the Shepherd Neame tenanted and managed estate, free house customers and national pub companies. In the 20 years since, Spitfire has helped raise more than £200,000 for a range of armed forces charities, while its tonguein-cheek advertising campaign has developed a cult following. Spitfire is now a licensed partner of the RAF and has been working in association with RAF personnel such as the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at air shows and other events across the UK this summer. Highlights of Spitfire’s summer events programme include the Kent County Cricket Kent Spitfires T20 matches, Margate’s Big Event, the Biggin Hill International Air Fair, the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford, Shoreham Air Show, Dunsfold Wings and Wheels and Kemble Air Show.
The other finalists – including licensees from Kent, Wales, Stockton on Tees and Norfolk – each received a cheque for £250. Mr Mountain said: “We travelled down with the idea that we would just enjoy the weekend, stay overnight in a Shepherd Neame pub and be happy with £250. When we won, we couldn’t believe it.” Operation Landlord was designed to encourage more licensees to permanently stock cask Spitfire in their pubs.
Jackboots on Whitehall Spitfire Ale is sponsoring madcap film Jackboots on Whitehall, an irreverent take on World War II that features an impressive cast of Hollywood stars. Jackboots on Whitehall is Team America meets Inglourious Basterds and features ground-breaking puppetry voiced by Ewan McGregor, Rosamund Pike, Timothy Spall and Richard E. Grant. The epic action adventure follows a group of heroic villagers led by Chris (Ewan McGregor), a young farmhand, and his sweetheart Daisy (Rosamund Pike) as they rescue Churchill (Timothy Spall) from capture, and fight against the Nazi invasion of England. Spitfire marketing manager Mark Miller said: “Jackboots on Whitehall captures the irreverent tongue-incheek humour of Spitfire Ale, and has generated a fantastic buzz. This partnership is a first for the brand and comes as part of a significant push to broaden its appeal to consumers and licensees.”
The Asahi Rising Stars After a year on tour around the UK, the Asahi Rising Stars Cocktail Competition reached its grand final in a glitzy evening at The Park Plaza Riverbank London in October.
The nationwide competition was open to aspiring young mixologists under the age of 30, with a first prize of an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan. Three regional winners from heats at Cheltenham, Manchester and Earl’s Court plus the best runner-up contested the final in front of an enthusiastic crowd, entertained by comedian Patrick Kielty, who hosted the event. More than 500 specially-invited guests enjoyed complimentary Asahi and cocktails, canapés by Yo! Sushi, and music from new Los Angeles girl band Beach Girl 5 and DJ Dan Williams, of Jade Jagger’s Jezebel Sound System. Former Destiny’s Child singer and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Michelle Williams joined Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame on stage to present the first prize to Charlene Holt of Manchester bar Apotheca.
Charlene’s cocktail turned up the heat with a showstopping drink marrying chillies, wasabi, lychee liqueur, dragon fruit and gin, presented in spectacular style by pouring flaming spirit down two Asahi bottles expertlybalanced on cocktail glasses. Other celebrated guests included Vanessa White from The Saturdays, and TV presenters Zoe Salmon and Jenni Falconer.
Clockwise: Aspiring young mixologist prize winner Charlene Holt; TV presenter Zoe Salmon; LA girl band Beach Girl 5; TV presenter Jenni Falconer; and the glitzy Park Plaza Riverbank London
Above: Patrick Kielty and Michelle Williams join Jonathan Neame and prize winner Charlene Holt / Right: DJ Dan Williams
Award wins for ales and lagers 1698 Bottle Conditioned Ale won a gold medal, as did Asahi Super Dry, and another Oriental favourite brewed under licence, the Hong Kong style Sun Lik Beer, was awarded a silver medal. Diplomas went to Master Brew and Bishops Finger, as well as Gentleman Jack, a premium ale brewed exclusively for Asda by the brewery. In a further success for our brewers, Kingfisher lager won two Grand Gold awards at the 2010 Monde Selection, the premier international food and drink awards.
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Spitfire Ale won a bronze medal in the 2010 Brewers Association Word Beer Cup, the world’s largest-ever beer competition, held in Chicago, USA. Spitfire achieved success in the “special bitter or best bitter” category. Shepherd Neame was the only British regional brewery to win an award. Six bottled beers brewed by Shepherd Neame have won awards from the British Bottlers’ Institute.
the quality Rupert Hodgkins and Mr Yamada, traditional a at ery, brew ku Shiko manager at day out organised Japanese banquet. It was part of a their families. by Asahi for brewery workers and
Made in Japan
Rupert Hodgkins in fron t of Konpira-san, a famous Shinto temple on Shikoku. It is dedicated to the wellbeing of seafarers.
Rupert spends a month with Asahi Rupert Hodgkins has returned from a month with Asahi Breweries in Japan, observing how the company operates at first hand.
Rupert Hodgkins in front of the brewery in Shikoku.
e near Rupert Hodgkins at a shinto shrin Zhuio-ji temple, ringing the bell!
gumi Fijii, s, interpreter Me Rupert Hodgkin manager at g rin ee gin a, the en and Mr Nagasaw Kamogawa the to standing next . Shikoku brewery, ry with fresh water we bre the s plie river, which sup
He spent three weeks of the visit taking an in-depth look at Asahi’s smallest brewery in Shikoku, which is similar in size to the Shepherd Neame brewery in Faversham.
Taki, one of the packaging line team leaders, is slightly embarrassed by being hugged.
Ryosuke and Michiko, some friendly English-speaking Japane se, taking Rupert Hodgkins out for cocktails! Yum.
Rupert, 29, joined Shepherd Neame three years ago as an engineer but is also taking qualifications in brewing. He said: “I was there as an observer but worked normal hours, accompanied by an interpreter, so I could communicate with the brewers and understand everything that was going on. “It was fascinating to see how they run the plant, how they organise the workforce and how engineering relates to brewing. Their whole attitude and the way they manage things is very different.” Rupert has recorded his impressions in a report to Shepherd Neame head brewer David Holmes. He said: “It was quite an honour to visit Asahi and a unique experience for a British brewer.”
Efficiency leads to Excellence Award Tom Falcon, Ben Wright and John Morgan
More efficient ways of working at Shepherd Neame have been recognised with an award at this year’s Process Excellence Awards.
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Shepherd Neame fought off fierce competition from large organisations such as BAA, Scottish Widows and ScottishPower to scoop the business accolade, judged by a panel of leading process improvement companies and executives from across Europe. The award was given for the brewery’s inventory reduction project in wines and spirits, which halved the drinks inventory and significantly increased product availability levels at the same time. John Morgan, from Catalyst Consulting, the sponsors of the award for Best Improvement Project (under 90 days), said: “It is impressive to see that a company that has been around for 300 years is willing to take a fresh look at the way it works and has the vision to take the measures required to continue its success for another 300.” This project was a first step in a programme focused at introducing Lean Six Sigma thinking and methods into the brewery’s supply chain. Six Sigma is a business management strategy originally developed in the US motor industry which has widespread application in many industrial sectors, although this is the first time it has been used by a British regional brewer. With production and distribution director Tom Falcon leading the task, the company has been able to avoid considerable expenditure on outside consultants. Tom has been supported by business improvement and supply chain manager Ben Wright, who has taken a Six Sigma training course, qualifying as a Green Belt during the early stages of the programme. His task was to develop a system designed to react swiftly to demand, which did not rely on keeping large amounts of stock. Ben said: “There was some nervousness about the effect of reducing inventories in an area of the company where stock outs were a regular occurrence. However, as the inventory fell, the customer order fill rose at the same time. Three months later, the order fill was up 24% and it has since been increased further so that we now satisfy 99.94% of orders coming in.”
Product-by-product, stock levels were re-evaluated, with all unnecessary safety stocks cut, lot sizes were reduced and packaging run frequency increased. Ben said: “Spitfire is now packaged daily in cask, as is Master Brew, when formerly two runs a week would have been our strategy. Our major bottled beer lines, Asahi, Bishops Finger and Spitfire, are now packaged on an almost weekly basis, whereas previously runs took place monthly or at even longer intervals.” Order fill has been increased by 92% to a level of 99.98% on own-beer products and inventories are down 33%. Increased packaging frequency has allowed the brewery to be far more responsive to customers. “We have been able to vary our strategy based on the demand patterns,” said Ben. “The lean strategy of packaging little and often has allowed us to respond quickly to the more promotion-driven demands of our supermarket customers.” An additional advantage is that of improved quality and “freshness” of beer. By reducing stocks across the board, the shelf life of the beer at the point of sale has increased significantly. The move has been welcomed by head brewer David Holmes, who said: “Our brewers are delighted to have our aromatic and quintessentially hoppy Kentish beers getting to the customer in peak condition.” Ben said: “It was noticeable that as we reduced packaging lot sizes we created a more consistent flow of material through the brewery and were able to exceed the capacity we believed we were capable of.” The team plans to exploit this further by removing unnecessary safety stocks of beer in fermenting vessels, carefully managing production lot sizes and increasing the co-ordination between stocks of beer in fermentation vessels and customer demand. By these means, the company will be able to release capacity that previously would only have been realised through significant capital expenditure. On the warehousing side, the lean inventory levels have already delivered tangible benefits, in terms of improved stock rotation, pick accuracy and reduced time spent on physical inventory processes. Tom and Ben plan to employ Six Sigma principles to integrate all aspects of information systems and management processes to build a first class production, information and logistics capability.
The first Price List was published in October 1896 on a folded card with a very limited product range.
The architect, Edwin Pover, 1905 drawings for the New Wine Cellars. By 1930 The Price List had become a small booklet.
A wine bottle of about 1750, found buried next to The Phoenix in Abbey Street.
The story of Shepherd Neame is not just about beer. Company archivist John Owen looks back at the wine and spirit merchants of Faversham. As a specialised trade, the wines and spirits trade was a newcomer to Faversham, in the late 18th century. The earliest reference to a wine merchant was to James Curteis in 1784, but his main profession was a surgeon; his widow, Sarah, was later listed as a dealer in wines. By 1803 Mr S. Wood was both a wine and spirits merchant and had Porter Vaults in Market Place. At the same time William Sharpe, the landlord of The Sun Inn in West Street, ‘returned thanks for the favours he had received in respects of his wine and spirits business’ in an advertisement in The Kentish Gazette.
Goods either reached the market direct or through auctions of contraband. The Shepherd family became involved in the trade in the early 19th century. In 1805 Samuel Shepherd announced, ‘he has engaged in the spirit line of first quality and wishes to inform the nobility and gentry of the town’. This was clearly an adjunct to his main occupation as a junior partner in the brewery of his father Julius Shepherd.
The most significant and longlasting dedicated wine and spirit merchant to emerge during this period was Dan and Stone, later simply Dan and Sons. Osborn Dan set up his business, aged 30, in 1826 at 17 Court Street and it later moved to Preston Street, where Corals now are. When he died his old home was sold to Shepherd Neame and rebuilt as their new office and as what is now the reception area. That these dedicated merchants were established so late is not to say Faversham had no wine and spirits trade until 1800. It was flourishing both legally and, as a result of smuggling, illegally. Until the coming of the railway, wines and spirits came to Faversham by sea to The Creek. In the Middle Ages some consignments came direct from the Continent but by 1650 everything came from London. These consignments were general cargoes, on average 70 per year, and the Port Books show that the consignees were general Faversham merchants. At the side of this trade was smuggling, with goods either reaching the market direct, or through quarterly auctions of contraband at The Faversham Customs House.
Against this tradition, Alick Neame, a son of Percy Neame, established the Wine and Spirits Department of the brewery in 1896. Sales of beer had reached their peak, so the brewery was looking for an additional income stream. Other breweries were doing the same and, as Percy had three sons to integrate into the business, it was a good way to give them a little commercial independence and training in management. In 1896 the stock was modest but reflected the drinking habits of the Faversham area of the day. In the earliest price list, spirits and cordials predominate. The total was 19 spirits, nine cordials and six wines. The range of stock expanded quickly. By 1910, nine rums, nine cognacs, eight brandies, 17 ports, seven sherries and 28 whiskys were on offer. Taste for wine had clearly developed; eight burgundies, 15 clarets, 13 Champagnes, 13 hocks and moselles were on offer; one Australian and one Spanish wine were listed; British wines such as cowslip and wincarnis were offered; 16 liqueurs were available; and two vermouths had appeared.
Pover’s drawings of the new spirits store By 1975 The Price List had a completely new look. Fred Reynolds, about 1942, in Cellar No 2, The Wine Cellar.
The stock books show 15 vats at the brewery, which contained up to 350 gallons each of whisky, rum and gin The post-war department was organised much as it had been since Edwardian days. Edwin Boakes, a Faversham man who worked all his life at the brewery, took over as manager by 1960. He reported to Kenneth Johnston, a family director whose profession, like that of his predecessors, was brewing rather than wines and spirits. By 1975, the range of wines had increased, to include the popular sparkling wines such as Asti Spumante and the British Moussec; Austrian, Yugoslav and Hungarian wines; Spanish wines; Portuguese, such as Mateus Rose, wines; Italian wines; and Cypriot wines, such as Emva Cream. Eleven vintage ports were listed together with 19 sherries. New cocktails such as Amber Sin, Calypso, Snowball and Wicked Lady also appeared. Pimm’s had made its first appearance in the lists about 1949 and vodka by 1975.
The contributions these developments made to the balance sheet were variable. The turnover of the first year was £10,000 which grew slowly to £34,000 by the end of World War I. Within two years it had shot up to £80,000 but the rate of growth then flattened out. From the end of World War II to 1980 it doubled roughly every decade.
In 1988 the brewery purchased Todd Vintners Ltd In the 1980s, Klaus Breitfelt took over when Ted Boakes retired and later Michael Prior, the first professional wine and spirits manager to run the department, arrived. In 1988 the brewery purchased Todd Vintners Ltd and the wine and spirits store was relocated to Shepherd Neame Distribution Centre on the edge of Faversham. On the product side too, price lists have continued to reflect popular taste and fashion, with Chilean, Argentinean, South African and New Zealand wines far outnumbering the traditional French wines.
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Most of the spirits arrived at the brewery in casks and a little came ready-bottled. The stock books show at least 15 vats at the brewery, which contained up to 350 gallons each of whisky, rum and gin. Most spirits orders were made up by hand until the 1940s. Additional premises were purchased for the wine and spirit stores; 19 Court Street, next to the brewery, became available and the first stores were built over part of its garden. In 1905, the stores were extended over the entire garden. The architect was Edwin Pover, the Faversham architect who designed much of late-Victorian and early 20th-century Faversham. World War II brought an abrupt contraction in the product range. Chateau-bottled wines disappeared to be replaced by non-chateau, nonvintage, one Beaune, one Pommard, one Chablis, two clarets; five tonic wines, including the now forgotten Phosferine and Sanatogen wines, a French and an Italian Vermouth, six cocktails, including the equally-forgotten Green Goddess, Seager’s White Lady and Britara Egg Flip; nine whiskys, a handful of spirits and a few cordials.
New development chef has
recipe for success Shepherd Neame has appointed a head development chef to spearhead the future of its food offer. Simon Howlett brings his many years of experience of working in hotels, pubs and restaurants to the new role. He will develop dishes, liaise with pub chefs over ingredients, style and presentation, nurture culinary skills and standardise best food practice through an online resource, while maintaining Shepherd Neame’s commitment to freshly prepared, locally sourced food.
Simon, 40, who has worked within the brewing industry for the past 10 years, has moved to Kent from his native Weymouth in Dorset to work with Shepherd Neame. He said: “I am looking forward to this challenge. Shepherd Neame has some excellent pubs and hotels, all individual and many with huge potential, which we are hoping to maximise. To begin with, I will be looking at areas such as buffets, breakfast and brunch offers and I will be looking at developing our chefs’ individual skills to improve the food at our pubs and hotels.” He added: “I think the demand for freshly-prepared, locally sourced food will continue to grow. Customers are telling us that is what they want. Traceability and the fact that produce is of a high calibre is important – in other words, not just that it is local but that it is good quality. “I think there will be a definite continuation in the vein of healthy options and local produce. There is also more awareness about seasonal produce; people are becoming more conscious that salad ingredients are not in season all year round.”
Along with increased awareness in terms of health and sourcing, diners are influenced by the myriad selection of celebrity chefs. Simon said: “The number of TV chefs and food shows means that customers now come looking for dishes they have seen featured on television – dishes like pork belly, for example, have become popular. It’s important to keep abreast of what is being shown on TV.”
Head development chef Simon Howlett
Brewery hosts cook-off challenge Top chefs were invited to the brewery for a final cook-off in the prestigious League of Club Chefs annual competition and challenged to create two dishes suitable for a pub menu using Shepherd Neame’s 1698 Kentish Ale and Grant’s Morella Cherry Brandy. Mark Thatcher, executive chef for the House of Lords, and Paul Hodson, head chef at the Caledonian Club, battled it out for 90 minutes, before presenting their dishes to judge and league president Don Irwin. The food was assessed according to presentation, taste, use of local seasonal produce and suitability for a working menu in a Shepherd Neame pub.
Paul Hodson was announced the overall winner with his starter, Posh Ploughman’s with Wholemeal Bread, and Cherry Bakewell Tart dessert. Worthy runner-up Mark Thatcher served a main of Roasted Rump of Kentish Salt Marsh Lamb and a Hot Chocolate Soufflé Pudding for dessert.
1698 and all that Shepherd Neame is commemorating its part in Britain’s heritage on a unique historical timeline displayed at the Museum of London, as part of an imaginative scheme set up by the museum to raise funds for its new £20 million Galleries of Modern London. The Galleries of Modern London cover more than 300 years of the capital’s history, from 1666, the year of the Great Fire, to 2012, the year of the Olympic Games. Families, companies and trusts that have supported the project have been invited to choose a year that is important to them and to have their own special
historical event recorded on a timeline running throughout the galleries. Shepherd Neame has chosen 1698, the year the brewery was founded by Captain Richard Marsh, and that year’s entry will include the legend: “Britain’s Oldest Brewer is established in Faversham and has supplied fine ale in Kent and London ever since”.
Visitors to the Museum of London, which is near St Paul’s Cathedral at London Wall, will be able to view the Shepherd Neame entry from November 5. Admission is free.
Faversham celebrates successful harvest More than 20,000 people celebrated this year’s successful hop harvest at the annual Faversham Hop Festival. 1950s and 1960s, also made a shorter return trip from Faversham to Dover for those wishing to take a nostalgic journey by steam. Brewers, hop farmers and barley growers also came together to give thanks for the year’s high-quality harvest at a special Hop Blessing service. The day included a Goldings Lecture from the widely acclaimed Dr Debbie Parker from Campden BRI, who spoke of the different aromas associated with hops. After the church service at St Mary The Virgin Church in Selling, guests enjoyed a traditional hop pickers’ lunch and folk music at Wellbrook Oast at Boughton-under-Blean.
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Picture by Barry Goodwin, Faversham News
Visitors from far and wide flocked to the town to enjoy live music in pubs and three town-centre stages, as well as lively street entertainment including Morris dancers and robots on stilts. Local produce and craft stalls lined the town’s streets, and many pubs also had live bands performing over the weekend. The brewery was open for tours and a traditional brewers’ lunch, and served drinks from an outdoor bar to thirsty festival-goers. The Spitfire Steam Train retraced the route taken by hop pickers, who used to travel from London to Faversham to take their annual working holiday in the fields of Kent. The train, made up of historic carriages from the
Football fans celebrate Shepherd Neame sponsorship Shepherd Neame is sponsoring Faversham Town Football Club, signalling a significant boost for the club which is riding high after its promotion to the Ryman Football League. The agreement, between Faversham’s two most historic and venerated institutions, was officially launched at the club’s ground in Salters Lane – now named the Shepherd Neame Stadium. Jonathan Neame, chief executive of Shepherd Neame, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Faversham Town FC and we are proud to be associated with the team. Shepherd Neame has a long tradition of supporting the community and we hope to see the Shepherd Neame Stadium full of enthusiastic supporters.” Last year the club won the double – the Kent Premier League and the Kent Senior Trophy – and gained promotion to the Ryman Faversham FC kick off - L-R, Tony Gray, Mike Luchford, Jonathan Neame, Justin Luchford League Division 1 South.
Dragons’ zen! A team from Shepherd Neame triumphed in a field of 12 companies in the inaugural dragon boat race of the Royal Warrant Holders’ annual event, held at Dorney Lake, Eton College’s rowing centre. Moray Neame was manager, while Olly Scott captained the team, which included Lee Whitehead, Aaron Rudd, Nick Koutsoudis, Alex Mackay, Graeme Craig and James Heatlie. First prize was a jeroboam of Pol Roger Champagne, a dragon shaped trophy and commemorative medals for each member of the team.
Dave Ingram with Vespa to raffle
Island’s top pub offers classic scooter as prize A Shepherd Neame pub is offering customers a rare chance to win a 1961 Vespa scooter.
Published on behalf of Shepherd Neame by Edwards Harvey, The Mill House, Hollingworth Court, Maidstone, Kent ME14 5PP Printed on 80 per cent recycled stock that has been awarded the NAPM and Eugropa recycled certificates
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The Royal Hotel in Sheerness – voted Sheppey Pub of the Year for the second year running by the readers of the Sheerness Times Guardian – will announce the winner of the Vespa raffle on New Year’s Day. The charity raffle, the profits from which will go to Help for Heroes, is a further example of the pub’s appeal to its customers and why it secured the award win. Gordon Henderson, MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, visited the pub to present the plaque to Dave Ingram and his staff after the town centre venue beat 10 other pubs on the island to secure the win. Dave said: “I am ecstatic that we have won two years running. It goes to show that the hard work we are putting in means we are going places. I think our success is down to well-trained staff, hard work and good quality food and drink supported by excellent service. “Tickets for the raffle are £10 and it will be drawn on New Year’s Day. The profits will go to Help for Heroes. Many of our customers are from the local Sid James Scooter Club, which supports the charity.” A dream prize for any scooter enthusiast, the Vespa has only 51 miles on the clock and is worth about £3,500.