Published: 09:00, 12 October 2014
| Updated: 09:15, 12 October 2014
The recent inclusion of two new Maidstone breweries in this year’s Good Beer Guide offers some hope for an industry which has been feeling the pressure.
On average, 31 pubs are closing in the UK every week, according to the latest Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) figures.
Despite this, Maidstone Brewing Company, on London Road, and Musket Brewery, at Loddington Farm, Linton, both earned a place in this year’s edition for the first time.
Celebrating its first birthday last week, Musket Brewery, run by Tony Williams and Mark Stroud, takes its name from the history of the area and Musket Lane, Hollingbourne, where Mr Stroud lives with wife Beccy.
Mr Williams said: “The place in the guide, which is a bible for people who like to sample good real ale, is a really nice first birthday present.
“We focus on quality and not quantity and plan to stick to five really good beers. We currently brew Muzzle Loader, Flint Lock, Fife and Drum and Trigger, and Powder Burn is on the way at the end of October.”
The microbrewery has made waves in the ale industry since opening and on top of being honoured in the popular guide book has this year released a limited edition beer for Kent Green Hop Beer Fortnight.
The ale, Flash in the Pan, is limited to 1,440 pints and can only be drunk at a select list of local establishments including six Maidstone pubs.
One of which, multi-award winning The Flower Pot, in Sandling Road, is run by Dave Davenport who, along with 46-year-old Rob Jackson, has set up Maidstone Brewing Company – another entry in this year’s guide.
The microbrewery, on the site of the former Style and Winch brewery, has been in business for less than a year and made the cut despite only producing “experimental” beers labelled MBC one to six, which are only available at Mr Davenport’s free house.
The four-barrel set up has produced one guest ale, Dark Side, which appeared at The Style and Winch, Union Street, to compliment the pub’s Star Wars’ theme during the town’s Fringe Festival.
Mr Davenport, 33, said: “Eventually we are looking to brew two beers on a permanent basis alongside a monthly special. We haven’t got a date in mind but it will happen as soon as we get the taste just right.
“The inclusion in the guide is almost like a proper launch for us and puts us in a place of recognition with other breweries.”
Mr Jackson, from Ashford Road, added that their hope was by being on the site of the old brewery they would bring brewing back to the town.