Roll out the barrel

Posted: 01 September 2014

Blog category: Faversham Hop Festival, Hops

Britain’s oldest brewer Shepherd Neame was once again the official partner for this year’s Faversham Hop Festival on Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31.

It was the 25th year of the free two-day event, which commemorates the golden days of hop picking in Kent.
To mark the anniversary, staff from the Faversham-based brewery carried out a ceremonial rolling of a barrel of beer through the streets into the town’s St Mary of Charity Church.

On Sunday morning, a vintage 1923 Austin 7 Shepherd Neame van took a beer barrel to the junction of Church Street and Quay Lane where it was unloaded.

Visitor centre assistants Luke James and Joe Easter-Deed then rolled the barrel up to the church, ready for a special service of celebration, led by Reverend Simon Rowlands. Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame was among those who gave readings.

The brewery sponsored the Brewery Stage in Court Street, which featured a diverse range of performances by local musicians on both days, and its pubs in the town also joined in the celebrations, with many hosting live music throughout the weekend.

Those who needed to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the festival, went along to The Old Brewery Store events venue, which hosted a free exhibition on the history of hops and hop picking in Kent.

On both days, some of the brewery’s historic vehicles featured in the morning parade through the town, which serves to open the event.

Shepherd Neame visitor centre manager Graham Hukins said: “Faversham Hop Festival is a glorious way of celebrating our town’s special heritage, and Shepherd Neame was delighted to play such a major part in the 25th anniversary event. The diverse line-up of music on the brewery stage proved popular, along with our beer tent, and we were also pleased with the reaction to our ceremonial rolling of the barrel. It was the first time we had organised the spectacle, and members of the public really seemed to enjoy it.”