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Posted: 26th March 2024

Are you open to the challenge of running your own pub? If so, independent family brewer Shepherd Neame wants to hear from you!

The Faversham-based business currently has 219 tenanted and leased pubs and hotels throughout London and the South East, as part of its 300-strong estate.

Its new Open for Opportunities campaign showcases the rewards of running a pub as a first-time licensee or an experienced operator looking for a new challenge, using a series of six films featuring the real-life experiences of a diverse range of licensees from its tenanted estate. A new pub swing sign logo has also been designed for the campaign. 

The videos include first-time licensees James and Hope Dench, who took on The Bucks Head in Godden Green last year, Gordon and Sharon Thompson, who run four Shepherd Neame pubs with rooms with the help of their grown-up children, and award-winning licensee Amy Glenie, who has won numerous honours including Pub of the Year in the Beautiful South Awards for Excellence since taking on the Blue Anchor in Crowborough in 2018.

Also featured and sharing their experiences are Tyson Marshall, who has been running The Foresters Arms in Tonbridge for almost eight years; Maddie O’Shea and Sarah Jones-O’Shea, who took on The Coach and Horses in Whitstable just over a year ago, and award-winning licensees Joe and Jane Mullane, who run The New Flying Horse in Wye.

Tyson said: “Without Shepherd Neame being encouraging and open to my ideas and what I wanted to do and understanding that I did have a lot of experience and passion, but didn’t necessarily have the money, it wouldn’t have worked.”

“The brewery recognises that as business owners, our passion needs to be reflected in how we want to express ourselves. They leave me alone to do that because they recognise that I am the best person to push my business along. But they are also there when I need them.”

Director of Tenanted Pub Operations Greg Wallis said: “As our new series of Open for Opportunities films shows, we don’t believe one size fits all. Our licensees are all independent entrepreneurs with a unique ambition for their business, and we see our job as providing a comprehensive range of support and initiatives to help them achieve their goals.”

Support is provided by Shepherd Neame’s experienced in-house team across a wide range of areas, including financial planning, cellar management, food and drink, and marketing. 

The success of this approach can be seen in some of the local and national awards they have picked up over the past year, including: 

•    The Sportsman at Seasalter, run by brother Stephen and Phil Harris was named Kent Fine Dining Experience of the Year at the Taste of Kent Awards, and took 4th place in the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub Awards
•    Joe and Jane Mullane, of the New Flying Horse in Wye won the Shepherd Neame Pub of the Year award 
•    Stag Inn, Hastings won Pub of the Year in the Beautiful South Award
•    The Barn, Tunbridge Wells took the Great Service Award in the Kent Wedding Awards

Shepherd Neame has also been shortlisted in the Best Partnership Pub Company (up to 500 sites) category in this year’s Publican Awards, due to be announced tomorrow (Wednesday, March 27). The company boasts many long-serving licensees, with the average length of partner tenure seven years.

For more information and to watch the interviews with all six case studies of Shepherd Neame licensees, visit