Specialist North Norfolk brewer celebrates 10 years of The Real Ale Shop

Teddy Maufe at Branthill Farm. Picture: Ian Burt

Teddy Maufe at Branthill Farm. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Specialist North Norfolk barley grower Teddy Maufe will this weekend be raising a glass to a decade of success for his Real Ale Shop.

When Teddy and Sally Maufe set up the venture at Branthill Farm on the Holkham Estate in 2004 there were only six micro-brewers in the whole of Norfolk and the so-called 'Renaissance of Real Ale' was in its infancy.

Fast forward 10 years and now there are 16 Norfolk micro-brewers in the shop and over 20 in the county.

Mr Maufe, who is one of a select number of growers of winter-sown Maris Otter which many specialist and craft brewers regard as the best malting barley in the world, said the venture has come a long way since those early days.

'The Real Ale Shop sprung out of adversity to try and help the farm during the agricultural depression,' he said. 'As tenants at Branthill Farm on the Holkham Estate this was our 'diversification' with the simple mission of joining up our malting barley with the local brewers and selling this ale on the farm where the barley was grown.

'By using the traditional Floor Maltings of Crisps at Great Ryburgh we could supply the Norfolk micro-brewers with our totally traceable malt - one brewer even puts the grid reference of the barley field on the ale bottle!'

North Norfolk has long been recognized as one of the most favoured locations in the world to produce top quality malt for real ales due to its winning combination of soil type - sandy loam over chalk - and its mellow maritime climate extending the natural ripening process.

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He said the Real Ale Shop has tapped into this 'wonderful heritage' and last year added a micro-maltings to show the public the malting process where a short DVD helps explain the malting barley journey from the harvest field to malt suitable for the brewer.

He added: 'We now have more then 60 different ales in the shop , triple the number we started with 10 years ago and over this weekend we will be having many available to taste and where we will launch the two joint winners of our commemorative 10th Birthday, 'Village Life' from the Beeston brewery and 'East Coast IPA' from the Poppyland Brewery.

'This highlights one of the shop's biggest achievements over the last 10 years in giving the Norfolk brewers a great 'shop window' which until the advent of The Real Ale Shop did not exist.'

Have you successfully diversified your farm business? Contact Shaun Lowthorpe on 01603 772471 or email shaun.lowthorpe@archant.co.uk