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Posted: 07 October 2011
Today was the annual Hop Blessing, a now traditional end to the hop picking season in Faversham.
Guests included local hop growers, hop merchants, the mayor, head teachers and previous company employees as well as a cross section of the current brewery, estates, accounting and distribution personnel.
The day started with an opportunity to examine samples of this years hop crop, a welcome by Jonathan Neame and then the Goldings Lecture, this year a talk on the history of Shepherd Neame by John Owen our archivist.
We all moved from the Old Brewery Stores to St Mary’s Church Selling to have a hop blessing ceremony. This was an informal Harvest Festival type service with the emphasis on a successful hop harvest and our thanks go to the Reverend Martin Webb for making us so welcome.
Following the service we adjourned to a local Oast House to have a Hop Pickers’ Lunch. The lunch was in the form of a grand ploughman’s (I suspect this was considerably better than a standard hop pickers fare) washed down with glasses of Masterbrew or Spooks.
Musical entertainment was provided by the University of Kent Vocal Consort (who also sang at church) and Triskele (a folk group again connected with the university)
The day gave plenty of opportunity to chat to friends and industry colleagues and to get a feel for how the hop harvest has gone.
We now have a wait whilst the hops are dried and processed before we can discover just how good a harvest it has really been.
Stewart Tricker - Senior Brewer