Reviving a Rich Brewing Heritage
Established in 2004 by Robert Wicks, the Westerham Brewery Company is proud to bring brewing back to the historic town of Westerham. With a rich brewing heritage, Westerham can once again be proud of locally brewed, top quality real ales.
Producing exceptional craft beer for the local market, we support the initiative to reduce food miles in the supply chain. Many ‘national brands’ are transported long distances and suffer from poor storage and handling.
Westerham Brewery Company has revived many of the much-loved flavours of the old Black Eagle Brewery, which closed in 1965 following the catastrophic consolidation by the ‘Big Brewers’ in the 1950’s.
The local water, which percolates through the Lower Greensand Ridge to the North of Westerham, is excellent for brewing pale bitter beers for which Westerham was once famous. The Vale of Holmesdale has over the years supported many breweries on account of the water including at one time two breweries in Westerham, the Swan and the Black Eagle. We have our own borehole 90m drilled down into the Hythe beds of the Lower Greensand.
We use only the finest English winter malting barley. Our malts are supplied by Crisp Malting of Fakenham in Norfolk and our coloured malts are produced by French and Jupps of Ware in Hertfordshire. Our beers contain up to seven different malts to produce a wide range of beer styles and colours.
We are mad about hops, specifically Kent hops. Why be a small brewery in Kent and not use the wonderful hops grown by our valiant hop growers. We have developed a particularly close working relationship with Ian Strang who farms the Scotney Castle Estate in Lamberhurst and the Finchcocks’ hop gardens in Goudhurst. 96% of the hops we use are grown in Kent and we use 9 different Kent hops in the Spirit of Kent. Our suppliers are Lupofresh (Finchcocks’ and AC Hulme), Botanix (Scotney) and Charles Faram (Non Kent hops).
We have re-cultured the yeast from the Black Eagle Brewery. After the takeover first by Taylor Walker in 1948 and the subsequent takeover of Taylor Walker by Ind Coope in 1959, the head brewer deposited freeze dried samples of their yeasts with the National Collection of Yeast Cultures, no doubt sensing that it might be lost forever. Now, 50 years later, we have revived these yeast cultures. Westerham Brewery has acquired the sole rights to these yeast strains from Carlsberg UK.
With water from the same aquifer that served the old brewery, the same yeast strains and some of the old recipes, we hope to capture the essence of what made Westerham’s ales famous.
Ethical and green issues are very important to us. To that end we have embarked on the following initiatives:
- Encouraging the planting of new hop varieties in a new hop gardens at Scotney Castle
- Paying a significant proportion of the sales of the Scotney Ales to reinvest in the hop garden at Scotney Castle
- Launching one of the first Fairtrade beers on draught – William Wilberforce Freedom Ale
- Tithing 10% of the profits of the William Wilberforce Freedom Ale to Stop the Traffik
- Tithing 10% of the profits of Gods Wallop to a charity each Christmas
- Instigating land spreading of our effluent on the land to replace trucking it away
- Purchase of two LPG powered delivery vans and an plug in hybrid powered sales car
- Reducing water usage in the brewery to under 3.5 : 1 ratio
- Removing all plastic waste from our bottled beer products and replacing with recyclable items
- To produce the finest ales we can
- To be as good a supplier to our customers as we can
- To be as good a customer to our suppliers as we can
- To be honest in all our dealings with our customers and suppliers
- To deal with all our customers without prejudice or discrimination
- To promote the Benefits-of-moderate-beer-consumption
- To educate visitors about the risks of alcohol abuse and to promote a culture of moderation
- To enable our staff to be the best version of themselves that they can
- To make our brewery the best that it can be