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This 'family brewer' (er, Plc) exhibits the behavioural hallmarks of a personally disengaged arms length acting sociopathic behemoth. They make profits alright - but at the expense of character, individuality and personality at any level in the retail facing part of the business.
At a managed estate level their beers are boring the pubs are anodyne and the produce they handle and serve is not quite what they hope to promote as bespoke produced in the pub kitchens, coming fresh from the Garden of England. Rather, as numerous sightings of passers by of Shep's pub deliveries report, their wares are sourced at the 3663 catering wholesale warehouse. Not that there's anything wrong with 3663 intrinsically, it's just pushing the notion of home cooking using veg from the back garden and animals stroked by the milk maid a bit too far.
And when it gets to tied tenanted pubs the friendly family face gets lost altogether. Don't blame tax, duty or supermarkets for any difficulties Jonathan, look to your own for any difficulties your estate experiences...
Unbelievable but true - Sheps charge their own tenants MORE for Shepherd Neame beers than the notoriously usurious non brewing tied pub co's, like Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns, sell Sheps to their hard pressed penniless tenants.
That's not 'Family Brewer' that's out and out profiteering Mr Neame