A HISTORIC Sussex brewer has given grammar pedants reason to raise a glass after spending thousands of pounds to add an apostrophe to its name.

Harvey’s has announced plans to add the punctuation mark as part of a major rebranding of the 200-year-old firm.

Head brewer Miles Jenner said the move would help distinguish the company from furniture retailers and self-drive vans who shared the same name.

The Sussex brewer unveiled the five-figure rebranding as part of a planned expansion beyond its traditional reach of 60 miles from its Lewes home.

The new look was officially unveiled at the Great British Beer Festival in Olympia London yesterday and drinkers should expect to see the new designs over the next three to six months.

The firm said the new designs portray Harvey's Brewery as “both modern and traditional” and will be used on all its beers, merchandise and glasses.

The company's iconic and grade II listed brewery in Lewes however is unlikely to change with Mr Jenner saying such a change would require an "awful lot of bother".

Harvey’s staff told The Argus that the move was also to ensure “uniformity” as the brewer's name appears in some pubs with an apostrophe and in others without.

Drinkers will see their favourite tipples including Sussex Best Bitter and Old Ale decorated with new individual illustrations including its iconic brewery.

Its seasonal range, which includes Tom Paine, Copperwheat and Kiss, will feature illustrations from Lewes Map artist Malcolm Trollope-Davis.

The rebranding will also feature a new strapline incorporating the unofficial county motto “We wunt be druv”.

In 2011, Harvey's was subject to a campaign from the Apostrophe Protection Society who called on the company to show some grammar consistency but the company said then its absence showed "a certain idiosyncratic charm".

Mr Jenner said: "The brewery was founded by John Harvey and we wanted to put the focus back on the brewery.

"You see Harvey's for lots of other things like furniture and self-drive vans and we wanted to say that we are actually a brewing company.

"We have survived for 200 years by not standing still but we are not going to throw the baby out with the bath water."

Company spokesman Bob Trimm said over the years the decision on whether the firm had an apostrophe or not depended on who was designing the pump clip for use in bars at the time.

Mr Trimm said: "We've got two centuries of expertise in brewing and we're well known by our loyal customers and discerning drinkers for being the original Sussex brewer - making the finest quality beers.

"But we've also got plenty to offer a new generation of drinkers and we think our new visual branding will make it easier for them - and those who already love our beers - to find us on the bar."


HARVEY’S might be aiming to widen its reach beyond the county but the new rebrand will also retain its Sussex links.

As part of a shake-up of the company’s branding, the unofficial county motto of Sussex “We wunt be druv” will feature on the brewer’s new design.

The phrase is the Sussex dialect version of “we will not be driven” and is the celebration of the defiant, bloody-minded, independent and stubborn nature of the county’s folk. It is also the motto of the Sussex Bonfire Societies.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, the phrase is a local proverbial saying dating from the early 20th Century although there are recorded examples from earlier.

The phrase is thought to originate from the Weald and could be linked to historic examples of Wealden common people being freer from manorial control than in the rest of Sussex.

Sussex Won’t be Druv is also the title of a W Victor Cook poem in Sussex dialect that was published in 1914.


Opinion by Argus sub editor Kate Parkin

CALL me a pedant but few things irritate me as much as bad grammar so I say hats off to Harvey’s (not hat’s off). What a great decision.

Every badly punctuated menu, every incorrectly spelt shop sign, every poorly written piece of junk mail is like a dagger to my heart.

My children are sick of hearing me rant about spelling and punctuation mistakes every time we are in public and have, on occasion, been embarrassed to see me take out a pen to correct some of the worst howlers.

My eldest daughter told me once: “Mum, no one except you CARES.” I had started to fear she was right, so hooray for Harvey’s – you have given me a glimmer of hope.

The thing is, punctuation DOES matter because it can completely change the meaning of something. For example, “the students’ books” means something different to “the student’s books”, the former indicating the books of more than one student and the latter the books of one student. And it’s CDs not CD’s, which begs the question CD’s what?

Don’t get me started on its and it’s or your and you’re or we could be here some time.

I’ve been a journalist for years, many of them as a sub editor, and I’m rarely happier than when poring over copy and correcting errors. It really isn’t that hard, though try telling that to a colleague who used to work in a newsroom right opposite a McDonald’s. Despite the huge sign, and frequent trips for lunch, his reporters still wrote McDonalds.

My youngest – who, I am happy to report, has inherited every bit of my grammar-related pedantry – attends a club which issues shockingly punctuated newsletters on a regular basis. It looks totally unprofessional.

Its latest missive was a “reminder that Fee’s are due next month”. If only they were Fee’s fees and not ours.