Marston’s hop garden drives innovation for Kent farmer
A five-year project by Marston’s Beer Company to establish its own hop garden in Kent has meant Hayle Farm in Horsmonden in Kent can now plan to develop new hop varieties at its farm and expand its output.
The Marston’s Hop Garden will grow Sovereign hops each year, a key hop for Marston’s in a number of its award winning beers and will also trial new hop varieties. The venture is being run by father and son, Clive and Richard Edmed.
Two acres of land have been set aside at the farm that was previously grazed by sheep and last year they began the work to clear and plant 2,500 brand new hop plants on thirty rows of new hop trellis. After two years’ growth next year, Marston’s will begin to realise the fruits of its investment with its first full harvest.
Head Brewer at Marston’s Patrick McGinty said: “Sovereign are used by Marston’s as a bittering hop for several of our beers and we’re delighted that this long term partnership brings us one step closer along the supply chain whilst opening up new opportunities for one of our suppliers.”
The Marston’s Hop Garden came about following a meeting with Marston’s Director of Brewing, Emma Gilleland at the Burton brewery when the Edmeds were attending the English Hops Ltd AGM. Hayle farm is 350 acres split between apples, pears, plums, gooseberries, blackcurrants and hops. The hop acreage is currently 65 acres and consists of seven varieties - Goldings, Progress, First Gold, Sovereign, Pilgrim, Endeavour and Target – and hops have been grown at Hayle farm for about 400 years.
Richard Edmed added: “We were delighted to meet up with the Marston’s team in Burton and strike up this new venture. The investment in our future yields opens up the opportunity for us to develop new varieties at the farm and we are looking forward to a fruitful relationship over the years.”