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6th February 2024

Introducing Frank Jr.: Shepherd Neame’s New State-Of-The-Art Industrial Robot to Improve its Packaging Capabilities

Independent family brewer and pub company Shepherd Neame has invested in a new state-of-the-art industrial robot to improve its packaging capabilities.

The Faversham-based brewery has been using an automated industrial robot on its keg-filling line for the past 20 years. It removes empty 50l and 30l kegs from pallets and places them on a conveyor, where they travel to undergo a cleaning process and are refilled, before the robot then palletises them again ready for loading and delivery.

Chief Engineer Mark Bowes said: “When we installed the robot, we named it ‘Frank’ after former longstanding team member Frank Rush, who used to move and stack the cask and kegs back in the day.”

After more than two decades of service, however, Frank’s operating system had become outdated, so Shepherd Neame decided to invest in an upgraded version. It is the first phase in a £400,000 programme of investment that the brewery has planned for its keg plant over the coming year. In addition to boasting a state-of-the-art operating system, the new robot, provided by German company KUKA, is faster, consumes less energy and is easier to maintain.

It was delivered last Monday (January 29), and Shepherd Neame’s production team undertook installation and extensive testing before it began full operations on Monday (February 5).

Director of Brewing Mike Unsworth said: “When we decided to replace Frank with a newer model, it seemed apt to continue the tradition by calling the new robot Frank Jr.! He can process up to 2,000 kegs in one day, and will help ensure we are able to meet demand for our keg beers in the most efficient way possible.”


About Shepherd Neame

Shepherd Neame has been based in the market town of Faversham, Kent for over 300 years. Perhaps best known for great British classic ales such as Spitfire Amber, which carries the Royal Warrant, its diverse portfolio includes Five Grain Lager, Bear Island East Coast Pale Ale and Bear Island Triple Hopped Lager, and the Whitstable Bay Collection. It also brews international lagers under licence including Samuel Adams Boston Lager and premium Thai lager Singha. The independent family business boasts an award-winning visitor centre and more than 300 pubs and hotels throughout London and the South East, from the historic heart of the City to the Kent coastline.

Shepherd Neame is not responsible for the content on third party websites.

For further information please contact Corporate Communications Manager Kathryn Tye on 01795 542259 or email or visit

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