What is your Brewery name and where did it come from?
Shepherd Neame, Britain’s oldest brewer. Brewing has been continuous on our site since 1507, with the Shepherds getting involved in 1732 and the Neames in 1864.
What is your brewery capacity?
In 2010/11 we brewed 68 million pints (approximately 239,000 brewers’ barrels)
What is different about your brewery?
What makes us different is the way in which heritage sits side-by-side with modern systems and processes. The brewery is a mish-mash of wonderful historic buildings. There are steam engines, cobbled pathways and the UK’s last remaining solid wooden mash tuns. These are juxtaposed with powerboat technology heating our coppers (PDX), award-winning Lean Sigma logistics processes and even a robot in our keg plant. Finally, being regional family brewer that has such a diverse international lager portfolio is fairly unusual.
How long have you been brewing for?
I have been brewing for 30 years, until recently I worked for Marston’s plc, specifically Banks’s Brewery, but I joined Shepherd Neame at the beginning of this year.
How did you get into brewing?
I studied biology at university and wanted to follow a career in industry which would involve my scientific background. After a couple of brewery trips, as part of my degree course, I knew where my career ambitions lay!
What beers do you brew regularly?
Our ale portfolio includes Spitfire, Bishops Finger, Master Brew, 1698 and Whitstable Bay. Our lagers include Kingfisher, Asahi, Oranjeboom, Hurlimann, Sun Lik and – most recently – Sam Adams. We’ve just started to do something particularly special once a year too – an aged bottled beer: Generation Ale.
What special/seasonal beers do you brew?
Our seasonal ales include Early Bird, Canterbury Jack, a cask version of Whitstable Bay, Late Red, Original Porter, Spooks (for Halloween), Christmas Ale, Amber Ale. We also have a pilot brewery that will produce small batches of beer for events.
Where do you think the future of brewing lies?
Diversity – the market is increasingly fragmented and brewers need to be able to move with the times, whether that’s bottled for the off-trade, what is being termed ‘craft beer’ or cask ale. There are opportunities in each market for high quality products.
Do you bottle/keg/cask your beer?
Yes to all three – each plant has been updated in the past few years. Most recently our new bottling hall was opened in 2010 and can produce up to 36,000 bottles per hour.
What is you proudest moment in brewing?
Winning back-to-back gold medals at the Brewing Industry International Awards.
Do you have any brewing regrets?
None I can think of – there’s always time though…
What is your brewing ambition?
I would love to brew a new cask ale, from scratch, which achieves national recognition and acclaim.
What was last beer you drank?
Spitfire; characteristically hoppy Kentish ale.
What is your favourite hop and why?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, as the brewery’s absolutely surrounded by them – I’m rather partial to East Kent Goldings at the moment: spicy, slightly grassy – the classic, English hop.
What is your favourite beer/food combo?
Jennings Cocker Hoop with fish and chips.
Do you have a Brewing hero/inspiration?
No one person springs to mind, but I’ve been lucky to have worked with some great brewers during my career. I continue to be amazed and heartened at the camaraderie between brewers.
If you could brew one collaboration beer with someone who would it be with and what would it be?
This changes all the time; there are lots of great people in beer and I enjoy sharing expertise. At the moment, I’m keen to get Jim Koch over from the Boston Beer Company. We’ve really enjoyed brewing Sam Adams recently and it would be great to try something with Jim, possibly a cask beer…
Which beer do you wish you had brewed?
Draught Bass was an old favourite of mine.
How do you spend your time when you aren’t brewing?
I play a little golf when the weather’s good and I like to go for bike rides at the weekend in an attempt to keep fit.
If you could have one superhero superpower what would it be?
The ability to be in two places at once would be useful…
Do you have a website/twitter/blog?
I’ve just posted by first blog, you can read it at:
It’s my first time, so be gentle. I’ll be getting on Twitter soon too, but one step at a time, I’m still trying to find my way around the myriad of paths and passageways in the brewery.
Our website is:
Anything else you want to tell us?
Beer is a great drink that we want people to enjoy. Its diversity is phenomenal, but at the end of the day there are just two types of beer: beer you like and beer you don’t.