When Steve and Jane Skews, two Brits who live and work in Normandy, France, told a newspaper reporter that they were thinking of selling their beer brewery business – Le Brewery, the news went viral and was reported by the global press creating a furore of interest.
You may wonder just why that might be – after all a brewery business for sale in France – where’s the wow factor in that?
Well, Le Brewery is a bit different from most breweries in France. It’s owned and run by an Englishman and is one of only two breweries in the whole region. The beers that are made at Le Brewery have won numerous awards. Not only that – there are two pubs run by Le Brewery – The Secret Knight and the Famous Knight and they are hugely popular in the area despite the fact that they look and feel exactly like a traditional great British pub – in France! It’s not only expats and holidaymakers that flock to these pubs in Normandy though; the local French population after an initial period of suspicion have converted to become Steve’s most loyal fans. There’s more… the beers have grown in popularity year on year and Le Brewery now has customers right across France and orders are coming in from Italy, Scandinavia and America – so much business that in fact Steve is struggling to cope with it!
Just why this might be so is thanks to the hard work of Steve, his wife and family members who set up this beer making venture just over a decade ago. The couple had moved from Peterborough, England where they’d been working as teachers, to the lovely village of Joue-du-Bois in rural Normandy.
They hadn’t set out to make beer but circumstances conspired that way as we found out when we interviewed Steve.
Le Brewery Normandy – a tale of hard work, determination and great British beer in France.
Steve Skew’s beers are not like the usual French beers – he has kept true to the tradition of great British ale and uses British brewing methods. He doesn’t use additives, the hops are from Le Brewery’s own fields and all made on site at his lovely stone farmhouse in the lush valleys of Normandy. He has lovingly created a selection of real ales, some with great catchy names which reflect that they come from the birthplace of William the Conqueror, ruler of England after winning the great battle of 1066. Names like “Odo” (the half-brother of William the Conqueror and Bishop of Bayeux), “Conquerant” (Conqueror), “Harold’s Revenge” and “Norman Gold” – the beers certainly indicate the big personality of this enthusiastic brewer and business man.
From golden ale, to dark, dark bitter and stout type beer Le Brewery has gone from strength to strength year on year. Based in one of the most beautiful parts of France and comprising a thriving business, two pubs, lots of land, a gorgeous farm house and even a camp site it’s easy to understand why this is one story that has such mass appeal.