Beer originated in the Middle East about 8000 BC and took another three-and-a-half millennia to arrive across the Channel in Britain. In sixth-century Sussex – the kingdom of the South Saxons – social life centred upon the alehouse. Throughout the Middle Ages, brewing remained a domestic occupation: beer was sweet, and flavoured with herbs and spices. By 1600, when Henry Stanton was brewing in Crawley, the use of hops to flavour and preserve beer had become standard practice.
The growth of the large commercial brewers was a product of the Industrial Revolution, from which era date famous West Sussex family concerns such as the Hentys of Chichester, the Ockendens of Crawley and the Constables of Littlehampton. That these are no longer with us is due to a long process of acquisition during the twentieth century. With the takeover of the last of their line, King & Barnes of Horsham, in 2000, brewing in West Sussex was left to just a handful of small independents. Yet today there are nearly thirty breweries in this part of the county.
This fully illustrated and informative book pays homage to the brewing heritage of West Sussex while celebrating the current outpouring of creativity known as the microbrewery revolution.
15 Feb 2017