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Jake’s Drinks forms strategic partnership with Cellar Head Brewing Company

Two Kent family craft drinks businesses join forces for growth

Jake’s Drinks, the beer and cider brand from Kent-based Balfour Winery at Hush Heath Estate, has formed a strategic partnership with local brewery Cellar Head Brewing Company to develop its craft beer range.

Balfour Winery has acquired a 25% shareholding in Cellar Head, which helped to develop the Jake’s Drinks beers, Jake’s Lager and Jake’s IPA, earlier this year, and now brews them. The investment allows the award-winning brewery to bring forward its expansion plans, with new state-of-the-art equipment, including a new canning line and tanks, doubling capacity into a 20-barrel brewhouse.

Jake’s Lager and Jake’s IPA were launched in spring this year, after eight months of research, tasting and recipe development between Cellar Head’s co-founder Chris McKenzie, brewer Joe Dann, and the Balfour Winery father-and-son team Owen and Fergus Elias alongside Jake Balfour-Lynn, who manages Jake’s Drinks.

Although better known for his role in winemaking, Owen has a wealth of experience in producing both beers and ciders. By combining this with Cellar Head’s brewing expertise, the team created Jake’s IPA and Jake’s Lager: traditional beers with a winemaker’s touch, combining established, revived and new hop varieties to add a modern twist. Both beers are vegan-friendly and in recyclable cans, ensuring their appeal to the eco-conscious market.

A testament to the success of the partnership, Jake’s Lager recently won a Silver Medal at The Global Beer Masters 2021, a competition which attracts entries from brewers across the world.

The Balfour-Cellar Head partnership is a perfect match, according to Jake Balfour-Lynn: “We can’t think of a better brewer to join us as we take the next step in the Jake’s Drinks journey and look to introduce our beers to a wider audience.

“Like us, Cellar Head is an independent, family-run and proudly Kent-based craft drinks business with a mission to produce the highest quality drinks from mainly local ingredients. We are delighted with the quality of the beers Cellar Head have brewed for us, and our decision to cement that relationship by investing in their business, speaks volumes for our confidence in them, and in our continuing success together in future.”

Chris McKenzie, Cellar Head co-founder, said: “Backing from Balfour Winery, as an established drinks and hospitality business, is most welcome, and makes it possible for us to pursue our growth ambitions earlier than we’d anticipated. Just as importantly, it makes the partnership between us more permanent and authentic, which is important to both us and to Balfour, as well as to our customers. We’re far more than just the brewer, we’re at the heart of the Jake’s Drinks story.”

Jake’s IPA and Jake’s Lager are available in 30-litre kegs and 330ml cans, with branding that not only reinforces the beer’s heritage with an illustration of hop cones and bines on texturised labels, but also encapsulates the Jake’s Drinks contemporary and playful personality.

The beers are stocked by a growing number of pubs, bars and restaurants, not just in their Kent heartland but also London and other south east locations, including The Hand & Flowers in Marlow and Pig Hotels. The beers can be ordered through Matthew Clark.

Tasting notes

Jake’s IPA, 4.3% ABV: a blend of three Kent hops: East Kent Goldings, a Kent classic with lavender, thyme and honey on the nose, and a slightly bitter taste; Boadicea, a modern hop with delicate orchard blossom aromas, and Bramling, a popular variety since the 1800s with smooth, aromatic qualities. A dark amber IPA with a delicate creamy head, smooth nutty flavours from the malt blend and a light-bodied bitterness. A delightful session beer.

Jake’s Lager, 4.5% ABV: a flavoursome craft lager created from traditional Kentish hop Goldings, with lavender, honey and thyme notes, and American classic Sterling, which brings earthy spices and citrus fruit elements. The lager remains in the tank up to 8 weeks to allow the rich flavours to develop, resulting in a bright, Pilsner style lager with a fresh caramel aroma, followed by flavour notes of lemon rind and hints of sweetness from the malts.

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NOTES TO EDITORS

About Jake’s Drinks

·         Jake’s IPA and Jake’s Lager were launched in spring 2021 by Balfour Winery, based at Hush Heath Estate in Staplehurst, Kent. The Jake’s Drinks brand is named after Jake Balfour-Lynn, son of the winery’s founders Richard & Leslie Balfour-Lynn.

·         The Jake’s Drinks range also includes Jake’s Kentish Cider and Jake’s Tree apple juices, produced from apples grown on Hush Heath Estate.

·         The first vineyard was planted at Hush Heath Estate in 2002. In 2008, Balfour Brut Rosé won a Gold Medal in the International Wine Challenge, which has been followed by numerous accolades for the company’s wines in some of the industry’s most prestigious competitions. 

·         Balfour Winery also owns nine pubs in Kent, East Sussex, London and the Cotswolds, offering quality food, drink and boutique bedrooms. 

About Cellar Head Brewing Company

·         Cellar Head Brewing Company was founded in 2017, by Chris and Julia McKenzie.

·         In 2021, Cellar Head’s Session Pale was named the winning beer in the Taste of Kent Awards.

·         The company uses traditional brewing methods to produce a range of modern beers, focused on drinkability and quality and using the finest hops, mainly from Kent and its own strain of historic Sussex live yeast.

·         Its core range of beers from modern American style pale ales to traditional best bitters, is complemented by seasonal brews throughout the year including green hopped beers and dark stouts, and limited, small batch beers using exceptionally rare or trial hops, usually less than 300 bottles or even just a single cask. 


Press release issued on behalf of: Jake’s Drinks

By: ShielPorter Communications

Further information:

Ros Shielros@shielporter.com / 07841 694137 

John Porterjohn@shielporter.com/ 07734 054389

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