Kent’s Best Hop Grower of the year judged as part of The Taste of Kent Awards 2020, is Tim Day of GM Day & Sons, from East Peckham, Kent with the variety Progress. Tim was chosen from the Kent hop growers who entered the Kent Hop Competition, which is organised by The Weald of Kent Ploughing Match and held on 20 November 2019 and sponsored by BTF Partnership and Shepherd Neame.

Hop growing in Kent is seeing a revival thanks to the interest in micro brewing and craft beers and Kent is famous for its Hop growing heritage. Whilst there is now a smaller number of growers in the county, they grow hops to a very high standard which are in demand from brewers across the world.

Stuart Highwood, head judge said: “This year was a very good show with a very high standard of hops as it has been such a good growing year. Despite some growers being affected by high winds in August which caused some damage to the crop, the hop cone sizes were variable which is good for brewing. The continental flavours preferred for the modern craft beers are increasingly popular and hop growers should be looking forwards, as brewers are looking for more interesting varieties of hops to use in beer making. That said the variety Progress which Tim has won with is a traditional fuggle type hop used in making bitter.”

The Taste of Kent Awards are organised by Produced in Kent and showcase the very best products and food and drink businesses in Kent. Jill Sargent of Produced in Kent comments: “Kent is absolutely synonymous with hop growing and there is so much interest in brewing not just here in Kent, but globally and we hope to taste some of these fine hop flavours in Kentish beers over the coming year.”

Richard Thomas, director at BTF Partnership: “Congratulations to Tim Day this is a great achievement to be crowned Kent’s Best Hop Grower, facing stiff competition.”

Stewart Tricker, senior brewer and quality manager at Shepherd Neame said: “This is a great event, the standard of hops presented was exceptional with strong aromas coming through in the Goldings category.”
The range of aroma hops now available in Kent with Cascade and Endeavour widens the selection available to the brewer alongside our traditional Goldings, Target, Challenger and of course the crowning glory this year of Progress

Public voting is half way through and you can still go online at to nominate and vote for the local heroes who you would like to see recognised. You have until 2 Jan 2020 to cast your vote and in doing so you will be helping local businesses to receive the support and recognition they deserve.

The most popular three in each category make it through to the final round of tasting, mystery shopping, mystery dining and expert judging panels.

The shortlist will be announced in January and the winners will be announced at the Taste of Kent Awards Gala dinner, which takes place 5 March 2020 at the Kent Event Centre.

This year’s categories open for public voting, are:

Kent Butcher’s Shop of the Year, sponsored by Furley Page
A retailer selling a good range of Kent produced meat. They will be required to provide evidence of traceability to substantiate this for judging.

Kent Beer of the Year, sponsored by Eurostar International
Beer produced predominantly from hops grown in Kent at a brewery based in Kent.

Kent Wine of the Year, sponsored by NFU Mutual, Ashford, Tenterden & Whitfield
A wine produced by a Kent based winery/vineyard from grapes grown in Kent, Sussex, Essex or Surrey.

Kent Cider or Perry of the Year, sponsored by Wilkins Kennedy
Cider or Perry made from apples or pears predominantly grown in Kent at a business based in Kent.

Kent Tastiest Juice of the Year, sponsored by AC Goatham & Son
A juice produced from fruit predominantly grown in Kent by a business based in Kent.

Kent Local Food Retailer of the Year, sponsored by Bennett Opie
The retailer must sell a wide range of Kent produce/products. They will be required to provide details of the suppliers and product range for judging.

Kent Food Business of the Year, sponsored by Gullands Solicitors
A business based in Kent, that make a range of food product(s) using ingredients sourced from Kent where possible which are available at multiple outlets.

Kent Restaurant of the Year, sponsored by Thomson, Snell & Passmore
A formal dining experience. The restaurant will be actively using Kent produce where and when seasonally available and demonstrate this commitment in menus and marketing.

Kent Dining Pub or Bistro of the Year, sponsored by University of Kent
An informal dining experience in a licensed premises. The pub or bistro-style eatery will be actively serving Kent food and drink when seasonally available and demonstrate this commitment in menus and marketing.

Kent Coffee Shop or Tearoom, sponsored by Barrett’s of Canterbury
The coffee shop or tearoom will be actively using locally sourced produce where and when seasonally available and demonstrate this commitment in its menus and marketing.

Excellence Award for Customer Service sponsored by Insight 6.
A self or public nominated award for independent hospitality and retail businesses including bistros, coffee shops, dining pubs, restaurants, retailers and tea rooms.

Other awards, not open for public voting, are:

Kent Food Product Classes, sponsored by Shepherd Neame
Producers can enter their own products into a range of classes. The product must be available in retailers and/or caterers made from Kent primary produce that has undergone a value-added process over and above just being re-packaged.

Kent Food Product of the Year, sponsored by HSBC
A product selected by the judging panel as the overall winner from all the entries in the Kent Food Product Classes.

Kent Countryside Award, sponsored by Kent Downs and High Weald AONBs
This stand-alone award gives food and drink producers, farmers and rural businesses using local produce, the opportunity to enter their businesses directly into the competition visit for more information.

Kent Farm Diversification Award, sponsored by South East Farmer

A self-nominating award for Kent farmers, growers or food producers who have diversified their business to sustain its future.

Download the application form: here

Pictured: Richard Thomas, BTF, Jill Sargent, Produced in Kent, GM Day & Sons and far left Stewart Tricker, Shepherd Neame