Alfred Beer – Prize-Winning Brewer

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by Peter Moynihan

Here’s an interesting piece from the Canterbury Journal, Kentish Times and Farmers’ Gazette, dated Saturday 21st June 1873, which proves that beer competitions in Kent are nothing new.

‘The Beer Competition at North Woolwich.- The prizes awarded to the successful competitors at the recent exhibition of beers at the North Woolwich Gardens-the first of which, a handsome gold medal, falling to the lot of Messrs. Beer & Co., of the Original Brewery, Canterbury-were presented on Wednesday last, at the Royal Hotel, the occasion being marked by a dinner served in the handsome banqueting room overlooking the Thames. The chair was occupied by Mr. Alfred Thomas, brewery valuer, of Hatton-garden, and the vice-chair by Mr. William Holland. In the course of the evening the vice-chairman proposed the health of the competitors, and, in doing so, entered into a full explanation of the origin and objects of the exhibition, the conditions that were imposed, and the manner in which it had been carried out. Having shown that the exhibition had no reference to any other ales than were exhibited, and stated the measures that were taken to ensure impartiality in the decisions, he went on to explain that what ale remained at the end of the exhibition had been kindly given up in almost every instance by the brewers who exhibited, that the proceeds of its sale might be handed over to the chiefs of the two charitable institutions of the Licenced Victuallers. Mr. Alfred Beer, in returning thanks for Beer & Co., contended very humorously that the county of Kent continued to maintain its proverbial eminence in the matter of hops and beer; and after paying a warm compliment to Mr. Holland for the active part he had taken in the exhibition and the work incident to it, said he had been so pleased with all he had heard of the two charitable societies that had been named, that it was his intention to present the sum of twenty guineas to them. …the company spent a very agreeable evening’.

'BEER SHOW - An exhibition of beer, which was originated by Mr. Claris, of Canterbury, is now being held at the Albert Hall, London. Several Kentish firms have sent in contributions, including Messrs. Beer & Co., of the Original Brewery, Canterbury, to whose lot the principal prize has fallen, Mr. George Beer, of the Star Brewery, Canterbury (see George Beer & Co. Ltd), Messrs. Gillow, Sandwich, Mr. Edmund Wright, Dover (see John James Allen), and Mr. Edward (sic) Finn, of Lydd (see Edwin Finn & Sons Ltd'.

Thanet Advertiser, 22nd May 1875