Shepherd Neame has appointed Mike Unsworth as its new master brewer and operations manager. Mike, who has almost 30 years of experience in the brewing industry, has taken over from Richard Frost following his retirement at the end of March.
Originally from Liverpool, Mike studied industrial biology at London South Bank University. As part of his course he spent a year in industry, undertaking analysis and microbiology at the Charles Wells Brewery, and it inspired him to pursue a career in brewing.
Mike, 52, said: “It was a really exciting work environment, and I was impressed by the enthusiasm and passion of the brewing team. After my studies I joined Courage Brewery, initially working in microbiology and yeast management, then moving to supervise the pilot plant, working on new product and process development.
“I went on to work at a senior level in all areas of the business, including kegging, brewing and packaging, before being appointed brewing manager in 2005.”
The brewery closed in 2010 and Mike worked for a short time as an operations manager for Coca Cola before moving overseas to become plant manager at the Cascade Brewery Company in Tasmania, Australia’s oldest operating brewery.
He said: “I have been at Cascade for seven years, and really enjoyed it, but my partner Jane and I wanted to move back to the UK to be nearer our family and friends. I was really proud to be part of Cascade’s long brewing heritage and carry on its traditions, so when I saw the opportunity was available to work at Shepherd Neame, Britain’s oldest brewer, it seemed the perfect move.”
Shepherd Neame brews around 60 million pints a year at its historic Faversham site, dating back more than 300 years. Mike’s role is to oversee the production team, brewing and distributing a diverse portfolio of beers from traditional Kentish ales such as Spitfire, Bishops Finger and Master Brew, to new additions such as the popular Whitstable Bay Collection, Cinque Five Grain Lager, Spitfire Gold and Spitfire Lager, along with international lagers under license including Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
He said: “Kent is renowned as the Garden of England, and the opportunity to brew beer in the heart of hop country was among the many factors that attracted me to the role.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to access so many different hop varieties, not only from the fields all around, but the historic varieties in the nearby National Hop Collection. I hope to work with the team to come up with some innovative additions to the beer portfolio.”
Shepherd Neame, chief executive Jonathan Neame, said: “We are delighted to welcome Mike to our award-winning brewing team. He is a talented, experienced brewer, and we are sure he will do an excellent job ensuring the continued quality and exciting development of our beer range.”