Shepherd Neame has provided a much-needed boost for local hop growers this week, by placing a bumper order for Kentish hops.
Following shifts in production requirements prompted by the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the Faversham-based independent family brewer has tripled its usage of Kentish hops. It has therefore just purchased an additional 4,000kg of Kentish hops from local growers to meet demand.
Senior Brewer Stewart Tricker said: “Shepherd Neame has always been committed to supporting local hop growers, and we typically use around 85% Kentish hops in our ale portfolio, which includes great British classic ales such as Spitfire. We also use Kentish hops where possible to provide a robust bitterness in its other more contemporary beers, such as the Whitstable Bay collection and Bear Island collection, while using more aromatic continental or American hops to provide the desired hop-forward aromas.
“Following the Government decision to close all pubs last month, our current operational focus is to continue production at the brewery and maintain sales to supermarkets. The majority of these orders are for premium bottled ales, so we are now focusing our efforts almost exclusively on beers that use Kentish hops, such as Spitfire and Bishops Finger. This temporary change in demand has therefore resulted in an increase in our usage of Kentish hops.”
The large order placed by Shepherd Neame offers much-needed support for the Kentish hop growers, many of whom have seen a collapse in demand from brewers following the closure of pubs.
Chief Executive Jonathan Neame said: “Hops are an intrinsic part of Kent’s heritage, and Shepherd Neame is proud to have been based in the heart of hop country for more than 400 years. We are committed to supporting local businesses, and we hope that our order will go some way to helping Kentish hop growers in these extremely difficult times.”