A fan of Britain’s oldest brewer Shepherd Neame has set himself the ultimate challenge, all in the name of beer.
Thirty-five-year-old Jace Dempster, from Hythe, has embarked on a quest to visit all of the company’s Kent pubs – totalling 190 – within a year.
Starting out at the end of January, he ticked off eight in the Herne Bay area in one weekend, and has since visited a total of 35, scoring them out of 10 as he goes, and drinking a minimum of half a pint at each.
He said: “I am very proud that we have Britain’s oldest brewer in our county and am a lover of Shepherd Neame beer. Although I’ve always been an admirer of Shepherd Neame, it wasn’t until I did the tour of the brewery in Faversham that I really became a true fan.”
On most visits so far, he has been accompanied by partner Vanessa, who is also the nominated driver – in exchange for lunch – and who plans to post updates on social media, along with their baby son Cody. Daughter Issy, 12, has also joined in at weekends.
He and Vanessa both do shift work with the Civil Service and so are fitting their visits around work, though Jace has also arranged visits to Deal and Sittingbourne with friends and family.
Even the family dog, Patch, could get roped in as Vanessa also plans to complete some of Shepherd Neame’s 14 Pub Walks, which all begin and end at a Sheps pub, as part of the challenge.
Jace added: “What is great about Shepherd Neame pubs is that there is such a variety. Some of them are really traditional, some are more contemporary, some more like restaurants, and all in a huge range of locations.”
So far, his favourite visit has been to the Bonny Cravat in Woodchurch near Ashford, a traditional, family-friendly pub with two large bars and a dining area, plus a tunnel thought to date back to the time of the Reformation in the cellar.
“I loved the history and feel of the Bonny Cravat – all the tunnels underneath going to the church are amazing. It’s a really interesting place to visit,” he said.
Although Jace’s initial ambition is to visit all Kent pubs in the Shepherd Neame stable in 2022, he is considering moving on in 2023 to sites further afield in London, Essex, Surrey and Sussex, completing the total of more than 300 pubs.
He added: “It has been great to get out and about, not only to see the different pubs but also explore new places.”
To see the full list of Shepherd Neame’s pubs visit shepherdneame.co.uk/pubs-map.
For information on Shepherd Neame Pub Walks visit: https://www.shepherdneame.co.uk/walks
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.
Press release from Shepherd Neame