Assured UK Malt
Case Study - Shepherd Neame
Shepherd Neame - the Best of British and Japanese!
Traditional regional British brewer Shepherd Neame, famous for its long-established, high quality range of beers such as Spitfire and Bishops Finger, is now also brewing quality Japanese beer. The Kent-based brewer began producing Asahi Super Dry following an agreement with Asahi Breweries Ltd to produce the beer under licence for the UK market. The Japanese company has been delighted with the quality of the product being produced in the UK , and samples of the beer brewed by Shepherd Neame frequently come top for quality amongst other Asahi brewers.
This is a testimony to Shepherd Neame's commitment to quality in its processes and in the ingredients that it uses. All the malt used by the company comes from members of the Assured UK Malt (AUKM) scheme. AUKM integrates with a variety of schemes including all the existing farm assurance schemes to provide malt that is fully traceable and guaranteed to have been subjected to independently audited standards.
Ian Dixon, Production Director for Shepherd Neame (pictured above) knows that the scheme has many benefits for the brewer. He says: "The AUKM scheme brings many benefits both in my job and to other sections in the company. We buy all our malt up front from the maltsters in the scheme, and by doing this, we know we can rely on its quality. The thought of variable quality, expensive product recalls and escalating insurance premiums if anything was to go wrong, doesn't bear thinking about. With AUKM, knowing the history of the malt reduces these risks significantly."
He adds: "For departments such as sales and marketing, the use of local quality ingredients which can be traced from the farm through to the delivery at Shepherd Neame is also a great benefit. The reputation of Shepherd Neame as a ╬brand' is key to how they communicate. They work hard to convey a strong brand image and we don't want to see that disappear overnight. AUKM helps to add value for the retailer and the consumer."
Founded in 1698, Shepherd Neame is Britain 's oldest brewer. It is a specialist, independent family brewery with strong links to the local community that date back to when it was established. The brewer produces a variety of high quality, traditional beers including ales such as Spitfire and Bishops Finger. These can be found in pubs across the South East as well as supermarkets and off-licences across the UK . Asahi Super Dry will be the fifth beer to be brewed under licence by the Kent brewer along with Indian Kingfisher Premium Lager, German lager Holsten Export, Dutch lager Oranjeboom Pilsener, and Chinese beer Sun Lik.
Quality and traceability are of the utmost importance in brewing. Therefore, securing the agreement to brew Asahi Super Dry was a detailed process. Asahi Breweries has a thorough selection process, and Shepherd Neame had to meet the highest standards for producing the beer. This was achieved with the help of the AUKM scheme and the brewer's own internal procedures, which comply with the standards laid down by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
AUKM is accredited by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) and is the leading, independently audited scheme for malt in the world. Shepherd Neame can be confident that all malt bought under this scheme has been subjected to strict standards in food safety, product legality, good operational practice and product quality.
"AUKM's strength is its ╬traceability,'" says Chris Gregson, Quality Control Manager at Shepherd Neame (pictured above). "It allows us to know everything about the malt from the grower, through storage, and on to the malting process. Through this we can be sure that only the best ingredients that meet the strictest of guidelines go into making our beer. This is vital in assuring our breweries, retail customers, and our consumers that we can substantiate our claims of producing quality beer."
Shepherd Neame favour purchasing malt under the AUKM scheme and list a number of benefits that they have accrued from being part of the scheme.
An accreditation that is recognised throughout the world
The ability to trace back paperwork and have a clear line of contact
The elimination of the risk of contamination
The scheme offers brand protection which benefits all companies throughout the supply chain whilst
Independent auditing as opposed to individual company audits
The confidence to back up claims about quality
The ability to satisfy customer concerns through comprehensive audited reports
The scheme ╬adds value' to the malt delivered from the maltsters
Moving forward, Ian believes that the AUKM scheme can only go from strength-to-strength as more companies become aware and are associated with the scheme. "Both retailers and consumers are increasingly worried about what is in their food, and scares and product recalls reported in the media only add to these concerns," he says, "Schemes such as AUKM offer assurance to all those associated with its products, and will continue to do so, especially at a time where the importing and exporting of food and drink products is on the increase."