Shepherd Neame is a family brewery that produces a range of cask ales and beers. This historic brewery was founded in 1698 by Richard Marsh and is renowned as the oldest brewery in Britain. Located in Faversham, the brewery lies in the heart of Kent, a beautiful county known as Â‘the garden of EnglandÂ’. Shepherd Neame produces a range of famous beers, including Bishop's Finger, Master Brew and Spitfire.
Keywords: Shepherd Neame, oldest brewery in britain, faversham, kent, Bishop's Finger, Master Brew, Spitfire, Captain Richard Marsh, Faversham Creek, Julius Shepherd, Late Red Autumn Hop Ale
Shepherd Neame is a family brewery that produces a range of cask ales and beers. This historic brewery was founded in 1698 by Richard Marsh and is renowned as the oldest brewery in Britain. Located in Faversham, the brewery lies in the heart of Kent, a beautiful county known as ‘the garden of England’. Shepherd Neame produces a range of famous beers, including Bishop's Finger, Master Brew and Spitfire.
Brewing began with a Captain Richard Marsh who in 1678 is recorded in the Faversham Wardmote Books as contributing by far the largest of the ‘Brewers Fines’ made at that date. The Shepherd Neame brewery is reported as having been established in 1698. Richard Marsh lived until 1727 when his Brewery was bequeathed to his widow, and then to his daughter, who sold the property to Samuel Shepherd around 1741.
Samuel Shepherd had an interest in malting and had established himself as a Brewer of Malt by 1734. Shepherd expanded on his interest, acquiring a number of public houses. His son Julius Shepherd extended this trend still further. In 1789 he set about modernising the process of malt grinding and pumping, which had been previously worked with horses. Julius introduced what was reputed to be the first steam engine to be used for this purpose outside of London.
Horse-drawn drays were used to carry the Brewery’s ales throughout Kent, and malts were imported by barge at Faversham Creek at its own wharf which was also used as the means to deliver its product to London.
The brewery itself is located very near to Faversham town centre and it is possible to smell the brewing processes in the surrounding streets. The brewery owns around 370 pubs, mostly in Kent, but extending into London and Essex. The pubs managed and owned by Shepherd Neame exclusively sell their own brands of beer. The brewery's own brands are typically given prominence in terms of frontage with extensive branding. All fonts and pumps bare the distinctive logos and branding, glasses are branded and bar runners that advertise the house beers are commonplace.
Shepherd Neame produces renowned beers, including:
Bishop's Finger is a full-bodied beer with complex fruit flavours, it is cask-conditioned ale brewed to a traditional Kentish recipe. It is also exported in bottles to more than 30 countries worldwide. It is named after an ancient signpost that stands amid the Kentish countryside.
Master Brew is brewed using only Kentish barley and hops, and is a distinctive, mid-brown bitter ale best known in the brewery's Kentish heartland.
Early Bird Spring Hop is brewed with Early Bird hops. This light gold beer is full-bodied, distinctive, with a malty undertone.
Goldings Summer Hop Ale is a light bitter made with Kentish malt and fresh Goldings hops harvested within five miles of the brewery. The beer is floral-scented, with a biscuity taste.
Late Red Autumn Hop Ale is a complex, richly flavoured autumn hop ale. With an auburn hue, this beer achieves a balance between rich, dark malt flavours, and a strong, robust hoppiness.
Original Porter is a dark ancient style London Porter, brewed in the winter season. It is typically available from end of November through to February.
Spitfire is Shepherd Neame's biggest-selling cask conditioned ale. It was first brewed as a bottled beer to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 1990. The beer is named after the legendary Supermarine Spitfire aircraft designed by R. J. Mitchell, which played a decisive role in the Battle of Britain. The brand is promoted by award-winning World War II themed advertising.
Whitstable Bay is an Organic Ale which has an elegant, light flavour and is backed by the impressive essentials of traditionally farmed, English malted barley and organic hops from New Zealand, which fuse to produce a bittersweet flavour with floral overtones and a dry finish.
This article is part of an ongoing series. Please see my article on The Eagle and Child, Oxford, a legendary pub where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis met to discuss The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia:
See also my article on Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, reputed to be the oldest pub in England and one of only two I know of to be built in a cave:
Find information on John Lennon’s favourite pub at: