From zingy, refreshing ales to rich, dark beers, Romney Marsh Brewery certainly knows a thing or two about British barely and hops!
The Ashford Farmers’ traders are a Kent based brewery, a family run businesses fronted by husband and wife team, Matt Calais and Cathy Koester. And less than one year after launching their business, the brewery’s Romney Amber Ale was shortlisted for Kent Beer of the Year from the prestigious food and drink body, Produced in Kent.
But it wasn’t always bottles and beer for Matt and Cathy. Matt worked in television for 16 years and was the former executive producer of the TV show, Come Dine with Me, while American-born Cathy spent the last two decades working in Parliament in the UK and for the British music industry.
So what made them pursue a journey together in bubbles and beers?
Matt, tell us why you decided you wanted to run your own brewery?
My wife Cathy and I have always been interested in food and drink, and we enjoy home brewing beer. We would take our beer to local bars and restaurants and they would trial them. We received some great feedback so we decided to continue our day jobs and brew and sell beer on the side. But it wasn’t until our drinks became more popular than we anticipated that we decided to focus all our attention on the brewing business!
How did you first start?
We started out brewing in our back garden, until we realised purchasing a permanent space would be a better investment. We now have our own brewery in Mountfield Industrial Estate.
What is a typical day at the brewery like?
Every day is different really. We normally spend one or two days brewing the beer; we’re in at 8am and leave at around 7pm. Another two days are spent delivering the beers and then we have an admin day. Other days are spent at events like farmers’ markets or selling to pubs and bars.
What do you think makes the perfect food combination with your ales and beers?
Like wines can be paired to certain foods, beer and ales can too! Dark, rich winter beer compliments seafood or stew dishes. Our Golden Ale is great in the summer and goes really well with spicy foods. Our zingy Amber ale compliments fish, especially smoked varieties.
You can find Romney Marsh Brewery Ltd at the Ashford Farmer’s Market on the first Sunday of the month on the lower high street.
Read more about our Farmers’ Market traders with this interview from PJ’s Farm Shop.