KENTISH BREWERS AND THE BREWERS OF KENT
A Historical Directory of Kent Brewers
(including those in the parts of the historic county now in Greater London)
By Peter Moynihan
With an introduction by Bobby Neame, President of Shepherd Neame
Published by the Brewery History Society, 102 Ayelands, New Ash Green, Longfield, Kent DA3 8JW
282 pages with colour illustrations: A4softback
ISBN 1 873966 18 0
"Kent, sir - everybody knows Kent - apples, cherries, hops, and women"
- The Pickwick Papers
Charles Dickens knew the importance of the brewing industry to the economy of Kent. Man of Kent, Peter Moynihan certainly does.
This work represents over 30 years of careful and painstaking research into the brewing firms that operated in the county. The book attempts to list all the brewing firms that existed in Kent over the last 300 years. Some of the early brewers were just producing beer for their own domestic purposes, while others were brewing for the local ale house or tavern. Regardless of their origins, Peter traces each enterprise so that a complete history of each firm is presented.
There are 144 towns, villages and hamlets recorded in the book and the index runs to over 1,300 entries showing how influential the industry was in the county. Some of these were small but others extremely large and influential. Peter tracks each one showing dates and presenting well researched facts. Many of the individual histories are illustrated with adverts, labels and photographs, some in colour. You can find out about many of the names still familiar to us today such as Fremlins, Mackesons, and of course Shepherd Neame. Learn how "Sheps" came to be the "Oldest Brewery in Britain", as well finding out about how so many of those companies fell beside the wayside.
Entries are in chronological order under a place heading with the story of each brewing site continuing to its conclusion, be that closure, take-over or modern day trading.
When asked about the title Peter confirmed that "The people of Kent have long memories and they remember 1,500 years ago when East Kent was colonised by the Jutes and West Kent by the Saxons. The Jutes felt themselves to be nobler than the Saxons and right down to this day those born east of the Medway are Men (or Maids) of Kent whilst those born west of the river Medway are mere Kentish Men (or Maids)!"
Peter was born in Croydon, Surrey, and began his beer drinking career in a Charringtons' pub. Whilst his friends drank the IPA bitter, he preferred their dark mild fresh from the hand-pump. A move to Kent in the early 1970s introduced him to the hoppy delights of Shepherd Neame and Fremlins and when the "real ale" movement started in earnest he joined the Campaign for Real Ale and remains a Life Member. Having a keen interest in history, he also began to research the brewing companies that had disappeared over the years. He soon discovered, and joined, the Brewery History Society, taking an active part in the Society’s affairs for many years; he served as the editor of its newsletter, helping to turn it into a Journal which has become well respected in the worlds of both business history and brewing.
Besides many articles, Peter has been the author of one previous book. "Westerham Ales". This was published by the Brewery History Society in 1991 as an exercise to test the feasibility of the Society publishing the researches of its members. Since those first faltering steps the Society has gone on to publish many volumes of which this is the latest.
An essential book for all those interested in brewing, beer and all things Kentish.
Enquiries to: The BHS Bookshop, Long High Top, Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire HX7 7PF.
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