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Shepherd Neame

Jane Sweeney | Lonely Planet Images | Getty Images

Name: Shepherd Neame
Founded: 1698
Location: Faversham, U.K.
Employees: c. 1,200

Britain's oldest brewer – officially founded in 1698 although brewing at the company's Faversham base has been taking place since at least 1573 – became Shepherd Neame in 1864 after Percy Beale Neame joined the company, then owned by the Shepherds.

Since then, it has remained in the family, and is today led by chief executive Jonathan Neame.

The company owns over 348 pubs and hotels in London and the south east of England, and reported a turnover of £138.7 million ($223.40 million) in the year to June 28, 2014.

Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale, the company's flagship beer -- named after the fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force during World War Two -- was created in 1990 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Last month Shepherd Neame was granted permission to use a prestigious Royal Warrant on bottles of Spitfire by Prince Charles, second in line to the throne.