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Posted: 10 October 2011
Blog category: News
Brewers, hop farmers and barley growers gave thanks for another successful harvest at Shepherd Neame’s annual Hop Blessing service.
Held at St Mary the Virgin Church in Selling, the service was led by Reverend Martin Webb and Shepherd Neame president Robert Neame’s granddaughter, Flora Bishop, presented a basket of hops for blessing.
The service included readings from Jonathan Neame, chief executive of Shepherd Neame, and Tom Falcon, production and distribution director. Senior brewer Stewart Main read from Nathaniel Kent’s 18th century writings on hop picking.
The packed congregation also enjoyed music from Vocal Consort, directed by Dan Harding, deputy director of music at Kent University.
Prayers were led by Railway Hotel licensee, Chris Maclean, who is training to become a Church of England priest.
The service was preceded by the annual Goldings Lecture – held in Shepherd Neame’s The Old Brewery Store – by archivist and historian John Owen who revealed that Britain’s oldest brewer has an extensive background dating well before the generally accepted date of 1698. His expert knowledge of Shepherd Neame can also be found in his new book, The Shepherds and Shepherd Neame Brewery, Faversham Kent 1732-1875.
Following the lecture, guests enjoyed a traditional hop-pickers’ lunch at Wellbrook Farm at Boughton-under-Blean, with musical accompaniment from Vocal Consort and folk group Triskele.