Shepherd Neame

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Shepherd Neame

Image:Shepherd neame.png



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Shepherd Neame is a brewery in Kent, making real ales such as Bishop's Finger, Spitfire, Master Brew, 1698 and a few others.


"Britain's oldest brewer"

Probably the oldest brewery in Britain, and claims "Britain's oldest brewer, since 1698" on their packaging. (Other breweries may predate Shepherd Neame, however they have either closed or merged, or never been written about).



The family of Neame were relative latecomers in the overall development of the Shepherd Neame Brewery, but as substantial property owners in the district, Charles Neame of Harefield Court and John Neame of Selling Court were acknowledged among the most valuable Hop growers in East Kent. Theo. Barker explains the official account of the Brewery, that it all 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.

‘Shepherd Neame’ as such is reported as having been established in 1698, in an advertisement of the ‘Kentish Gazette’ for the 11th April 1865. Richard Marsh lived until 1727 when his Brewery, was bequeathed to his widow, and in turn, to their daughter, who sold the property on to Samuel Shepherd around 1741.

Samuel Shepherd was himself from Deal in Kent. He had an interest in Malting when he moved to Faversham around 1730 and had established himself as a Brewer of Malt by 1734. Shepherd expanded on his interest, through acquiring a number of public houses, but it was his son Julius Shepherd who extended this trend still further upon his inheritance of the Brewery in 1770, when the company held four such outlets.

In 1789 he set about modernising the process of Malt grinding and pumping, which had been previously worked with the employment of horses, by introducing what was reputed to be the first Steam Engine (Boulton and Watt) to be used for this purpose outside of London, and was then able to describe his business as the ‘Faversham Steam Brewery’.

Henry, his second son, born in 1781, continued the family tradition, and raised his son of the same name into the business. It was this Henry Shepherd (1816~77) who was to be the last of the Shepherd’s actively involved in the Company.

Image:Spanish Galleon Tavern.jpg
The Spanish Galleon Tavern in Greenwich

The death of Henry senior at the age of 82 occurred in 1862 and although his own son was not a business man of the same determination, the firm’s expansion continued adequately with John Mares, who had come to the financial assistance of the Shepherd Brewery during the bleak recession of the mid ~1840’s and continued as the indisputable impetus behind ‘Shepherd and Mares’ until Percy Beale Neame joined the Brewery in 1864.

Mares had seen the potential of the Brewery’s growth with the long delayed Railway service when it arrived in 1858, and pressed the firm actively to prepare for such growth, as he foresaw this might bring.

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, until the 1850’s when steamboats were beginning to prove more expeditious to the task. Inevitably the railways soon even outpaced and replaced the steamboats.

Mares unexpected death at the age of 45 in 1864 placed Percy Neame at the age of 28 the stronger partner with Henry Shepherd, and with the challenge left to him in Mares successful expansion programme he brought the Faversham Brewery well into the Neame families dominion.



Holsten export is brewed at Shepherd Neame [1]


Further reading

  • "Shepherd Neame : A Story that's been brewing for 300 years" Theo Barker (1998) Granta Editions, Cambridge and Shepherd Neame: Faversham, Kent.


  • New director at Shepherd Neame - Morning Advertiser
  • Shepherd Neame off the hook over ads - The Publican
  • Shepherd Neame pushes local food - The Publican
  • Shepherd Neame in Benevolent mood - The Publican
  • Chefs land some top seafood tips from Phil Vickery - The Publican
  • Spitfire beer ad escapes censure over Nazi symbol - Brand Republic Bulletin
  • Ad using Nazi symbol not offensive - (subscription)
  • Spitfire beer ad atracts complaints - Life Style Extra
  • Oranjeboom and Kirin go extra cold - Morning Advertiser
  • ... more news

Image:Wikipedia-small.png Wikipedia article about Shepherd Neame (search). This article uses material from that article.

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