NFU Mutual Hemel Hempstead & Tring Brewery
At NFU Mutual Hemel Hempstead, we insure many local individuals and successful businesses including Tring Brewery, who like NFU Mutual, will be supporting the heritage festival later in the year. We spoke to Richard Shardlow, one of the brewery’s two directors and founders, to find out more about the heritage of his business and how it has been supported by our agency.
Hops and heritage
You need to go back more than a century to discover how it all started for NFU Mutual.
Our heritage stretches back to 1910 when a small group of farmers got together and established the National Farmers’ Union (NFU). Eager to gain more members, they decided to offer cost-effective business insurance as an enticement to anyone that signed up. NFU Mutual was born and has been protecting and supporting its members ever since.
Partnering with Tring Brewery
Across the country, NFU Mutual now serves more than 900,000 members through a network of more than 300 local offices. At NFU Mutual Hemel Hempstead, we insure many local individuals and successful businesses including Tring Brewery, who like NFU Mutual, will be supporting the heritage festival later in the year. We spoke to Richard Shardlow, one of the brewery’s two directors and founders, to find out more about the heritage of his business and how it has been supported by our agency.
Q: Is there a history and heritage of brewing in the local area?
A: When the Grand Union Canal cut through the town in the 19thcentury, many new industries were established. One of them, the malting of barley, is something that’s essential for brewing beer. At that time, brewing was only really a domestic affair with people producing beer for their own consumption. The Beerhouse Act of 1830 changed all that, allowing anyone to brew cider or beer from their home and sell it. As a result, hundreds of small, commercial breweries sprung up across the land, including three in Tring; Manor Brewery on the site of the Memorial Gardens, Rodwells in Akeman Street, which operated until 1935, and John Brown’s on the High Street which opened in 1800, brewing its final batch of beer in 1972. And that was the end of brewing in Tring, for a while at least…
Q: How did you come to establish Tring Brewery in 1992?
A: Having left school in 1975, I joined the army with the intention of becoming an army officer. Unfortunately that didn’t work out so my father, who was Production Director of Whitbread, suggested I should do a brewing pupillage. This seemed like a good idea, so I joined Devenish in Weymouth where I discovered a love of beer and sailing!
Having completed my training, I worked for Ruddles and Greene King for five years. I then joined my father, who by this time had taken early retirement, in a business building small breweries. For many years this flourished, and we helped set up over 300 breweries worldwide. In 1992 the order book dried up and I was left wondering what to do next. I was having a beer in The Castle in Tring when a friend, Kerr Hill, walked in. He’d just been made redundant from his Sales Director position. Five pints later, Tring Brewery was formed and we started production five months later in November 1992.
Q: How long have you worked in partnership with NFU Mutual?
A: We’ve been working in partnership with NFU Mutual for nine years. Over that time we’ve been approached by other insurance companies and given quotations, but NFU has always remained competitive. They may not always be the cheapest, but their service and understanding of our business and needs far outweigh any small financial savings.
NFU Mutual by your side
Would you like to find out how NFU Mutual Hemel Hempstead can help protect the heritage of your business? Come along to our Business Owners’ event in the autumn to hear more and enjoy a fascinating trip around the Tring Brewery. To be the first to hear about this exciting event, email Hemel_Hempstead_Agency@nfumutual.co.uk
You can find out more about the work being done by the Chiltern Society or the events happening during the festival here.
THE FEELING'S MUTUAL
Nothing is more important to NFU Mutual than heritage, countryside and community. So we’re absolutely delighted to be this year’s key sponsor for the Chiltern Society Heritage Festival.
The Chiltern Society is the only voluntary organisation committed to conserving, celebrating and caring for the unique landscape right across the Chilterns, including more than 650 square miles of stunning woodlands, hillsides and valleys.
Thanks to the support of more than 7,000 members and 500 volunteers, it helps maintain and improve footpaths and cyclepaths, woodlands, nature reserves, rivers and streams. It also helps to preserve and protect some of our most important, historical buildings, provide safe havens for local wildlife and protect the area from unsympathetic development.
The Chiltern Society Heritage Festival will celebrate the diverse heritage of our region through a fantastic programme of events held throughout the year. There really will be something for everyone so it would be lovely if you can get involved.
As well as sponsoring the Chiltern Society Heritage Festival, some of the team from NFU Mutual Hemel Hempstead will be getting up close and personal with the society’s work when we join a couple of their conservation sessions later this year. Keep a look out here to find out how we get on.