Harvey & Sons may be the oldest brewery in Sussex, but its reputation and the popularity of its traditional ales reach far beyond the county’s borders.
The brewery was established in 1790 by John Harvey and The Bridge Wharf site – affectionately known as “Lewes cathedral” – was purpose built in 1838, with a second tower added in 1985 to double the brewing capacity. Today, Harveys is under the management of the chairman, Hamish Elder, and his joint managing director and head brewer, Miles Jenner.
The combination of a traditional variety of malt, local whole hops from Sussex, Kent and Surrey, spring water from Harvey’s own artesian well and a yeast that is unique to the brewery combine to provide a consistent flavour and quality to the ales. Hence, the brewery has garnered an impressive raft of awards, including, most recently, World’s Best Mild Ale for its Old Ale, Europe’s Best Barley Wine for its Christmas Ale, and Europe’s Best Strong Stout for its Imperial Double Extra Stout – all picked up at the 2010 World Beer Awards.
Harveys supplies many trade and wholesale customers throughout the south-east, as well as its tied estate of public houses, including the Cricketers in Berwick and the John Harvey Tavern in Lewes The company is also a fine wine merchant. Products – bottled and container ales, fine wines, English fruit wines and liqueurs and premium spirits – are available to purchase in their historic Brewery Shop in Lewes (and a smaller outlet in Midhurst) as well as the online shop.
Brewery tours take place by written request to the head brewer only and there is a waiting list in operation: Mon-Thurs, 6.30 pm to 8.45pm, June to September (excluding August) for groups of up to 25, costing £2.50 per person. The Brewery Shop, 6 Cliffe High Street, Lewes (01273 480217; firstname.lastname@example.org), opens Mon-Sat, 9.30am-5.30pm, and Harveys Bottle & Jug shop, Red Lion Street, Midhurst (01730 810709), opens Thurs-Sat, 9.30am-5.30pm.
Harvey & Sons (Lewes) Ltd, The Bridge Wharf Brewery, Lewes
East Sussex, BN7 2AH