On the 20th June, Nick Matthews, of Robin Appel Ltd, drove across to West Sussex to host a meeting of farmers and brewers anxious to promote the ‘local produce’ label. Edward Tupper started growing Maris Otter barley for us on his farm near Petworth, West Sussex, just 2 years ago, and Miles Jenner, managing director of long established brewers Harvey’s of Lewes, has always said if you can produce my favourite barley variety local to the brewery, then count me in.
So an inspection of Edward Tupper’s second crop of Maris Otter barley by Harvey’s brewery staff was called for. This enabled the farmers and brewers to engage in an open and frank discussion about all the challenges each faces – for example: falling beer consumption (brewers) and impending withdrawal of financial support (farmers).
It was agreed the meeting was enormously valuable, and that there should be two more – the next one at Warminster Maltings, and the final one at Harvey’s brewery. It was felt strongly by all sides that we all need to work much more closely together in future, in order to see our way through what is currently a very uncertain future.