Shepherd Neame is an English regional brewery founded in 1698 by Richard Marsh in Faversham, Kent. It is a family owned brewery that produces a range of cask ales and filtered beers. Production is around 203,000 barrels a year. It owns 370 pubs, predominantly in Kent, London and southeastern England.
The family of Neame were relative latecomers in the overall development of the Shepherd Neame Brewery, but as substantial property owners in the district, Charles Neame of Harefield Court and John Neame of Selling Court were acknowledged to be among the most valuable hop growers in East Kent. Theo Barker explains in the official account of the Brewery, that it all began with a Captain Richard Marsh who in 1678 is recorded in the Faversham Wardmote Books as contributing by far the largest of the ‘Brewers Fines’ made at that date.
Shepherd Neame as such is reported as having been established in 1698, in an advertisement of the Kentish Gazette for the 11 April 1865. Richard Marsh lived until 1727 when his Brewery was bequeathed to his widow, and then to his daughter, who sold the property on to Samuel Shepherd around 1741.
Samuel Shepherd was from Deal, Kent. He had an interest in malting when he moved to Faversham around 1730 and had established himself as a Brewer of Malt by 1734. Shepherd expanded on his interest, through acquiring a number of public houses, but it was his son Julius Shepherd who extended this trend still further upon his inheritance of the Brewery in 1770, when the company held four such outlets.
In 1789 he set about modernising the process of malt grinding and pumping, which had been previously worked with the employment of horses, by introducing what was reputed to be the first steam engine (Boulton and Watt) to be used for this purpose outside of London, and was then able to describe his business as the Faversham Steam Brewery.
Henry, his second son, born in 1780, continued the family tradition, and raised his son of the same name into the business. It was this Henry Shepherd (1816~77) who was to be the last of the Shepherd’s actively involved in the Company.
The death of Henry senior at the age of 82 occurred in 1862 and although his own son was not a business man of the same determination, the firm’s expansion continued adequately with John Mares, who had come to the financial assistance of the Shepherd Brewery during the recession of the mid ~1840’s and continued as the impetus behind Shepherd and Mares until Percy Beale Neame joined the Brewery in 1864.
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