WESTERHAM BREWERY APPOINTS BRIAN FIELD NON-EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN

The Westerham Brewery Company is delighted to announce the appointment of Brian Field as Non-Executive Chairman. Brian was until recently the Managing Director of T.D Ridley & Sons, and prior to that was with Greene King for 14 years, his last role there being Managing Director of the Brewing & Brands division. In addition to this new position, Brian is looking to undertake consultancy or interim management roles, and has just started working on an assignment for London & Edinburgh Inns.

The Westerham Brewery was set up by Robert Wicks in January 2004, when he teamed up with Canadian brewer Anthony Richardson to construct the 55 barrel a week capacity brewery at the National Trust’s Grange Farm in Crockham Hill, just outside the town of Westerham. The main brewhouse was purchased in the United States and new fermentation and cold conditioning capacity was sourced from Canada. Robert Wicks and Anthony Richardson carried out plant installation and building improvements under the guidance of David Smith of DA Smith Brewing Services. The main contractor for the building works was the local company, Genesis Builders.

Robert, who has links with the Theakston family and also worked for a short time for David Bruce, founder of the Firkin chain of pubs and the Capital Pub Company, has been passionate about brewing for as long as he can remember. In recent years he had formed an ambition to revive brewing in the Westerham area. Until 1965 there was a large brewery in Westerham itself, the Black Eagle Brewery. Robert has recultured two yeast strains that the head brewer of the Black Eagle Brewery, Bill Wickett, deposited at the National Collection of Yeast Cultures in 1959. The Westerham Brewery now uses this two-strain yeast for all it’s brewing.

Since the first brew went out to the trade in June 2004, sales of the Westerham Brewery’s beers have been expanding fast. Robert has been experimenting with various packaging formats for personal customers and the local off trade. In the lead up to Christmas over 270 gallons or 2160 pints were sold ‘at the brewery gate’, a testamant to the growing popularity of Westerham ales. In the local on trade 77 pubs, clubs and beer festivals have been supplied, consuming an average of 630 gallons per week. The brewery intends to begin bottling their beers in January 2005 and will be announcing a major supply contract in the South East in the near future.

“We are well ahead of my business plan expectations at this stage”, says Robert, “and I feel the time has come when I need to bounce my ideas off someone who knows the industry well. This is where Brian comes in, and I am pleased that we have been able to appoint a man of his calibre and experience.”

Brian comments, “I am delighted to take up Robert’s offer. I have very fond memories of Westerham from an earlier involvement with the depot which was at the Black Eagle Brewery site, and it will be a great pleasure working with such an enthusiastic and passionate advocate of local brewing.”

For further information please contact:

Robert Wicks
The Westerham Brewery Company