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Swiss Chalet aims to raise thousands for Prospect on May Bank Holiday 14/05/2015

The Swiss Chalet pub at Gorse Hill is gearing up for the biggest-ever fundraising event in its history this May Bank Holiday Sunday May 24 when it hosts a mammoth music and family fun day from 12am to 12pm.

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Landlord John Honeyman said: “We’ve done lots of fund raisers before, but this time we’re really working hard to raise thousands for Prospect Hospice, now such a fundamental part of Swindon and which over the years has supported thousands of people and their families.

“I’d love us to raise £5,000, but it’s a big ask and to do that we’re going to need the support of as many people as possible.”

The Swiss Chalet is making sure there are plenty of things to attract people to come. Along with eight bands playing on two stages throughout the day, there will be a hog roast, children’s entertainment, bar-b-que, stalls, raffle and auction, with prizes including a Liverpool FC shirt signed by the squad, tickets to the theatre, Cotswold Wildlife Park, train tickets, and many others.

The day kicks off at 12 noon on Sunday May 24, and the team at the Swiss Chalet is hoping that, with a bank holiday available to recover, visitors will stay the whole day. All money raised on the day will go straight to Prospect Hospice. Even if you can’t make the day, but would like to make a donation you can do this via the JustGiving fund raising page (https://www.justgiving.com/musicandfamilyfunday)

Copper bottomed refurb for Exmouth Arms 14/05/2015

The Exmouth Arms on Bath Road, Cheltenham has been given a total refurbishment by landlords Mike and Georgina Huysinga and Arkell’s Brewery.


The fantastic copper bar

The successful duo, who also run The Strand in Cheltenham Town Centre and The Royal at Charlton Kings, have not only redecorated and installed new furniture, but also installed a brand new copper bar. Georgina said: “We’ve run The Exmouth Arms for eight years and it was time to retire the wooden bar and go for something completely different. It might take a bit more maintenance to keep it gleaming, but it’s definitely a talking point.”

Unusually for a town pub, The Exmouth Arms has a large garden, which makes it feel more like a village pub in the country, especially with its large allotment where locals grow vegetables. To make the most of the outside space, Mike and Georgina have also invested in a brand new pizza oven, to cater for the hundreds of families who regularly visit the pub throughout the summer.

“Pizzas can be the perfect answer for a happy family visit to the pub,” says Georgina. “And cooking home-made pizzas is a great spectacle, so it all adds to the atmosphere.”

The Exmouth Arms is hosting a launch party, with live music, Thursday May 21 from 7pm. Open to all customers, Alex Arkell will host a beer tasting and food pairing session during the evening alongside a wine tasting.

Life-saving defibrillator installed at Kemble pub 06/05/2015

Five years after well respected Kemble railway station worker Malcolm Van Nuil collapsed and died of a heart attack on Kemble station, a defibrillator has been installed close by, at The Tavern Inn, which is just a few steps away from the railway station ticket office.

Phil Basford, Anna & Eric Silk, Anne Wilton, Ann Basford, George Arkell, The Tavern, Kemble lr.jpg

Landlord Phil Basford, Kemble residents Anna & Eric Silk, Anne Wilton, landlady Ann Basford and George Arkell at The Tavern, Kemble

In fact it is the third defibrillator to have been installed in the village of Kemble. The first one was put up at the village hall around 18 months ago, and it has already been accessed three times (although not used, thanks to an ambulance arriving promptly on each occasion), the other is located at the Wild Duck in the nearby village of Ewan.

Each defibrillator costs £2,000 and the money to buy them was raised by the Community Heartbeat Trust, Kemble and Ewan, led by villagers Anne Wilton, Anna Silk and Yvonne Binks.

Anne Wilton explained: “The Parish council gave £2,000 and the rest came through fund-raising activities and donations, including a donation from Waitrose through their green disc scheme. People were very generous and we raised the money in around 18 months.”

The Community Heartbeat Trust, which is a national charity, advises that all defibrillators are located in prominent sites, and The Tavern is located so close to the railway station that it made sense to install it on the outside of the pub, where it is easily accessible and visible. The pub is owned by Arkell’s Brewery in Swindon and George Arkell was only too ready to help. “A pub is a good place for such a life-saving device,” he said. “Because everyone knows where their local pub is.”

Anne explains how the system works. “If someone has a heart attack and becomes unconscious, the first thing that whoever is with them should do is call the ambulance. The ambulance service will then advise where the nearest defibrillator is located and give the code to get into it. No-one needs special training to use one because as soon as it’s opened up, there are audio instructions to tell you what to do, and the first one is Stay Calm!”

It's all about consistency 24/04/2015

Test, test and testing again for brilliant tasting beer, sip after sip.

Watch our latest video diary on brewing brilliant beer!

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Arkell’s brightens up Spring with a Tinge of Ginge 17/04/2015

Our auburn-haired brewer has decided to have some fun at his own expense by naming his latest brew A Tinge of Ginge, and not only because of the colour of his hair.


A Tinge of Ginge, 3.6% ABV, is Arkell’s latest seasonal brew created by head brewer Alex Arkell. “We’ve added some natural ginger extract to the brew, a pale ale, which balances very nicely with the sweetness of the malt. It’s refreshing, light and perfect for this time of year,” he said.

“I’m used to a bit of gentle teasing about the colour of my hair, but I don’t mind,” he said. In fact Alex is in good company. Prince Harry is ginger-haired, so are Chris Evans and Ed Sheeran, and it hasn’t held them back. Alex might not be royal, a DJ or TV presenter, and he doesn’t play the guitar, but being tall as well as ginger haired, he can stand out in a crowd, which is great if you’re trying to get to the bar first, or catch the bar staff’s eyes.

Alex’s brewhouse team came out in support of their head brewer, donning red wigs to keep him company.

“Brewing great beer can be a serious business, but we make it fun, trying out new flavours and tastes, and deciding which ones our customers will enjoy most,” said Alex. “When I was training to become a brewer I travelled to Europe and the United States which is where I came across the idea for carefully marrying ginger with malt to give a light refreshing beer. But you don’t have to don a red wig to drink it.”

In fact there is a national Redhead Day in the UK, being held in Manchester this year. Red hair is also celebrated in the Netherlands where an annual Redhead festival is held in the town of Breda. This year it’s being held from 4-6 September. And Ireland is holding a red head convention from 21-23 August. Ginger hair occurs naturally in just 1-2% of the human population, but more frequently for those in Northern and Western Europe.

Arkell’s A Tinge of Ginge beer is available in cask in selected Arkell’s pubs from April 2015, and for order locally from Arkell’s Brewery in Swindon. It is also available to buy nationally through Coors.

Where the magic happens 17/04/2015

View our latest episode of beer brewing at Arkell's.

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The fermenting room. Where the magic happens and the wort is turned into alcohol.

Doug Petrie bottles it up at the brewery 13/04/2015

Arkell’s engineer, Doug Petrie, has celebrated 20 years at Arkell’s Brewery. Doug, 47, followed his dad’s footsteps to become the brewery’s engineer, having started his brewery career in the cask wash.


James Arkell congratulations Doug on his 20 years service.

“It’s my dream job,” he said at a party thrown for him by the brewery in celebration. “I used to visit my dad, Robin, sharing a brew with him in the boiler room where it was warm and cosy. When I moved back to Swindon from Bristol, where I was working at the time, I knew that I wanted to do the same job as my dad.”

Doug was happy to join the team in the brew house before moving on and learning the engineering ropes from his dad, who at that time did spend most of his time in the boiler room maintaining the boilers and when Robin Petrie retired a few years’ ago, Doug was ready to take over.

“Now our boilers are more efficient, so I’m spending much more time looking after the bottling line now, and doing other jobs around the brewery,” he said.

Head brewer, Alex Arkell, paid tribute to Doug’s long service. “Our bottling line has become increasingly busy over the last two years as we take on more bottling for others as well as own growing stable of beers. Quality and consistency are essential and it’s down to Doug that we’re as good at this as we are. While the boiler room with his dad might have been warmer, the bottling line is busier.”

Doug’s first job was at Rolls Royce in Bristol, moving on to work at British Aerospace. He became a general mechanic and even tried his hand at farming for a bit. “I love being outside,” he said. “That’s why this job is so good. It’s inside and outside and there’s always something different going on and great people to work with. I hope I’ll be here until I have to retire.”

Doug was joined by his son, Arnie, 25, a landscape gardener, brewery staff, chairman James Arkell, George Arkell, Nick Arkell, John Arkell as well as Alex Arkell at the celebration.

Three Horseshoes: West Berkshire CAMRA’s Community pub of the year 10/04/2015

Landlord Michelle Lebrasse and her customers are celebrating The Three Horseshoes being nominated West Berkshire CAMRA Community of the Year.

In a packed pub, West Berkshire CAMRA Chairman Richard Scullion presented Michelle with her certificate and paid tribute to a great community pub, which works hard to provide a friendly welcome. It must also be one of the only pubs in the UK which puts on a panto every year – in the pub, the latest being ‘Billy Brimpton goes to Benidorm’, written by a local and performed in the public and lounge bars of the pub itself. All proceeds raised go to local charities. The pub is also home to two pool teams, poker on a Thursday night and a darts team, one of which is Michelle who was also named player of the season in the Thatcham Friendly Darts League. The Three Horseshoes also hosts the village post office twice a week.

One local CAMRA member said: “The Christmas pub panto has really brought the community together and is a worthy cause raising money for charity. The food is wholesome, homemade and well presented.” Others said: “The pub is run by, and full of, characters,” and “Always there to help others. Fantastic atmosphere.”

Michelle stepped up to become landlady five years’ ago, taking over from her father Mike Holmes who sadly passed away after running the pub successfully for ten years. The Three Horseshoes was bought by Wiltshire brewery Arkell’s in 2001 and Mike moved from running another Arkell’s pub in Swindon with his wife Margaret to take over.

Michelle said: “I really do enjoy running the pub, and the locals are great, though it would be lovely to see more from the village itself here. We also get a regular group people from outside the village who drink here, which is wonderful and creates a really good atmosphere.”

Brewery director George Arkell, said: “Michelle knows the pub business inside out and we’re thrilled that West Berks CAMRA have recognised her hard work in making the Three Horseshoes the centre of her community.”

What REALLY goes on at the top of the Arkell's Brewery tower! 02/04/2015

Watch the latest episode in our brewing story. This week, the Copper!


The copper at the top of the Arkell's brew house tower boils the wort to which we add in the hops which help preserve the beer. We do it in a copper because copper's great for transferring heat.

Mash Tun mash-up 20/03/2015

The latest in our story of brewing.... we present The Mash Tun. See our video on our Facebook Page Arkells Brewery, or https://youtu.be/Zf_hsPO9bFQ

The Mash Tun is where we mix our cereal grains adding liqueur (hot water) which we then leave to rest for around 40 minutes to dilute out all the sugars which we need for the fermentation and the colour which comes from the grains, along with the protein and flavour.

The spent grains are then sent off to a local farm for the cows and pigs.... And That's Mashing!

The Plough, Highworth hosts life-saving defibrillator thanks to Lions Club 18/03/2015

Life saving equipment to treat cardiac arrest victims has been installed at a Highworth pub by the Wiltshire town’s Lions Club. This is the fourth and final defibrillator to be installed in Highworth thanks to the club’s generosity.

Dep Myr, Cllr Richard Williams, Highworth Lions President Terry Coker & George Arkell with defibrillator at The Plough, HighworthLR.jpg

Dep Myr, Cllr Richard Williams, Highworth Lions President Terry Coker & George Arkell with defibrillator at The Plough, Highworth

The location for the final bright yellow defibrillator to be installed is at Arkell’s pub The Plough, on London Road, Highworth. The others are located at the council offices in Gilbert’s Lane, the police station porch at Newburgh Place and the community centre in the Dormers.

The Lions Club were advised on how many to install in the town by national charity The Community Heartbeat Trust, which is focussed on the provision of life saving defibrillation series to local communities. Lion’s Club member Rodney Davis, said: “The Community Heartbeat Trust undertook a survey of the town and advised us on the right number of defibrillators for the size of the town’s population, and where to put them.”

Each defibrillator costs £2020, which the Lion’s club funded partly through sales through its charity shop in Newburgh Place in Highworth, and partly through local community fund-raising, and a generous, anonymous donation of £2000. “We were thrilled with the size of the anonymous donation which made raising the rest of the money much less daunting,” said Rodney.

The Community Heartbeat Trust advises that all defibrillators are located in prominent sites, and after deciding that The Plough, on the town’s main through road, was the best location, approached landlords Anton and Tina Starling who were delighted to support the project.

Rodney explains how the system works. “If someone has a heart attack and becomes unconscious, the first thing that whoever is with them should do is call the ambulance. The ambulance service will then advise where the nearest defibrillator is located and give you the code to get into it. No-one needs special training to use one because as soon as it’s opened up, there are instructions to tell you what to do, and the first one is Don’t Panic!”

Highworth Mayor, Councillor Pam Adams, attended the installation of the fourth and final Highworth defibrillator along with Arkell’s Brewery director, George Arkell and members of Highworth Lion’s Club.

George Arkell said: “With The Plough being at the heart of the local community, we are delighted to be able to have the defibrillator here. But while most people want to be able to use new equipment, we hope that in this case everyone remains healthy and it isn’t used at all!”

A miller’s tale 13/03/2015

We've uploaded the latest episode of our documentary on brewing at Arkell's. It's all about milling.

A vital piece of equipment in a traditional brewery is the mill. Ours is a Seck Mill, number 73544, which we’ve used since 1908. It’s probably the oldest working Seck mill in the UK and has certainly lasted longer than the company that made it: The Seck Engineering Company closed down in 1921.

The mill crushes the barley (the main ingredient of beer) through two sets of rollers before feeding it into the grist case via a conveyor belt. In fact the mill has nine belts in all, which are the only items we’ve ever had to replace.

Considering that we use the mill at least three times a week, if not four, every week of the year, it’s incredible that it’s lasted so long: They certainly don’t make equipment like this any more.

The mill used to be powered by our steam engine downstairs, but now we use a small engine, as it’s more efficient. However, when we get all nostalgic, we still hook it up to the steam engine for old time’s sake.

> Arkell's Brewery - FACEBOOK

No beef about delicious local beef at Bull 08/03/2015

There's no beef about the exceptional quality of the beef on the menu at The Bull, Fairford after the pub put local beef on the menu thanks to local farmer Tom Paton and the towns butcher - Andrew Butler.

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Tom's cows are served by an Aberdeen Angus bull in June and July to give birth in March and April. After a summer with their Mothers and a winter indoors they have a final summer grazing before going to the Butchers at 18 to 24 months old.

Bull hotel chef Jamie and manager Ian designed a special menu to celebrate the beast. Canapés included a version of The Bull’s own corned beef hash while there was also a special beef tea macchiato, a traditional beef tea with a fresh horse radish foam.

Guests were given a beef break with a monkfish brochette starter served with a Vietnamese salad while waiting for the main event – a delicious Fairford beef wellington, served with fondant potatoes and a red wine jus. Pudding was lemon three ways to clean the palette, lemon syllabub, lemon sorbet and lemon meringue.

How beer is made 06/03/2015

Every week for the next few months we'll be taking you through how our beer is made.

This week, the Maris Otter grain arrives at the brewery. The majority of what we use is wheat, rye, oats and barley.... but mostly barley because barley contains the right type of sugar for the yeast to ferment further down the brewing process, to turn into alcohol.

Watch our film on our Facebook page, Arkell's Brewery, for the full story. Link below.

> Arkell's Brewery - FACEBOOK

A battle of the pies at The Bakers Arms, Stratton 05/03/2015

The oven gloves are off at The Bakers Arms at Stratton, Swindon after landlady and head chef Catherine Kelly and her assistant chef Laura Medlam go head to head to decide whether Catherine’s Steak and Kidney Pie or Laura’s lasagne is the more popular pub dish.

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Laura Medlam and Catherine Kelly to head to head

If they were competing in the sticky toffee pudding stakes, Catherine admits Laura would win hands down as she says Laura’s pudding is just a bit tastier, but this feisty landlady is determined that she’s the best steak and kidney pie maker in Swindon. “I cook my meat in the sauce a day before I make the pastry so all the flavours can really come out, and of course it’s loaded with a few delicious extras that I’m not telling anyone about, least of all Laura!”

Catherine has reason to be secretive. She took Laura on a few months ago as a trainee chef and it didn’t take her long to discover her new employee’s talent. “She’s got a natural ability to cook tasty food. She’s great to work with and, along with the third member of our kitchen, Viv McMurrey who is our dessert queen, we all get on so well that the Bakers Arms is a really lovely place to work. We’re a town pub that does great home-cooked food for really appreciative local customers and we’re proud of it.”

The steak and kidney pie versus Laura’s lasagne was put to the test this week and, for now at least, the pie won hands down, selling out at lunchtime while there were a few portions of lasagne left, for this week at least.

Catherine, who has been in the licenced trade for thirty years, is also celebrating ten years’ at The Baker’s Arms this year. The pub, owned by Arkell’s Brewery, was extended a few years’ ago to provide a larger dining area for up to sixty people.

But Catherine’s skills don’t just stop at steak and kidney, she’s happy to challenge other town pubs to prove she does the best Sunday roast in Swindon. “And my roast potatoes come straight out of the oven. I’m proud of their crispiness.”

Doctor, Doctor I need an Hoperation! 03/03/2015

Arkell’s Brewery doesn’t promise that its beer will cure your ailments, but a pint or two of its new brew, Hoperation IPA, might certainly help you forget about them for a while.

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Hoperation IPA is the brewery’s latest seasonal ale and at a healthy 4.5% abv, it will certainly blow the cobwebs away.

Head Brewer Alex Arkell, has brewed Hoperation as an Indian Pale Ale (IPA), a beer style characterised by the use of high levels of hops, which enables the beer to stay fresh for longer because of the extra hop acids: the more hops in the recipe, the longer the beer will last. IPA got its name from British India and other outposts of the British Empire during the 19th Century. Living hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles from home, the British based there wanted a familiar beer and as a result of an IPA’s ability to last the long voyages, this style gained popularity.

Alex said: “IPA has had a recent surge in popularity and is now the most popular style of craft beer in the world. For Hoperation IPA, we’ve blended English and American Hops to create a powerful hop flavour in this Pale Ale with oats and wheat in the grist to provide a smooth rounded finish.”

Hoperation IPA will be available at all Arkell’s participating pubs throughout the months of March and April 2015.

Jumping Jack gets behind the bar 20/02/2015

Jack Lee has come in from the cold after taking over at The King’s Arms, the Arkell’s Brewery-owned hotel at Malmesbury. After eight years working for an equestrian contractor building fences for competitions, equine schools and owners across Europe, he ‘jumped’ at the chance to run this small town hotel.

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But Jack, 28, has ‘form’ in the licenced trade too. Having grown up in Malmesbury, his first part time job was in the pot wash at The King’s Arms, but he was quickly promoted to waiter. He’s also worked behind the bar in some of the town’s other pubs.

Jack decided to apply for the King’s Arms manager job when he heard that the previous landlords had decided to move on. “Working in equestrian fencing was fine, but I knew I could run a business,” he said. “When I saw the opportunity to take on such a fantastic small hotel as The King’s Arms I reckoned I was in the right place at the right time. It’s not often you get an opportunity like this.”

Brewery director, George Arkell, was delighted to hear from Jack. “It’s great to get someone from the local community, who knows the hotel and many of its customers already. This year we’re investing heavily in training across our pubs with new apprenticeships in customer service as well as cellar training to support all those working in our pubs and hotels. He’s got some great ideas for the hotel and we’re really looking forward to working with him.

Jack added: “It’s quite a surprise to be running the hotel where I got my first job. I can say that I know the business from the bottom up!”

Arkell’s investing more than £1 million in The White Hart, Stratton St Margaret 16/02/2015

The White Hart at Stratton St Margaret is about to undergo a £1.4 million transformation after pub owner Arkell’s Brewery begins work on a 24-room accommodation extension next week.

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Left to right: Craig Titchener, Arkell's Brewery, Craig Morton, Edmonts, Les Smith, Edmonts. In the digger George Arkell

This is the latest investment in good quality hotel rooms by the Wiltshire brewery, and comes only two years after successfully adding accommodation to The Sun Inn at Coate Water.

Brewery director, George Arkell, said: “There is an acknowledged lack of good hotel room space in Swindon, particularly on the north side of the town, and an increasing number of people preferring the cosier atmosphere of a pub with rooms.

“The White Hart at Stratton is the ideal pub for rooms. It’s at a major Swindon gateway site, the car park is large and there is ample space.”

The construction will be undertaken by Swindon building contractor, Edmont. Arkell’s bought The White Hart at Stratton in 1878, extending it substantially in the 1920s. Nearly 100 years’ later, the pub is still going strong.

“Ongoing investment in our pubs is essential if we are to maintain standards and provide customers with the warm welcome they expect,” said George. “Over half our estate of pubs can now offer accommodation, which provides a valuable added revenue stream for our landlords as well as increased facilities for visitors to Swindon and the surrounding area.”

The New Inn, Stratton welcomes new tenants 04/02/2015

The New Inn at Stratton-St-Margaret, Swindon has welcomed new tenants.

Ross Morgan, landlord at The Crown Inn, Stratton, has taken over behind the bar and is delighted to have the opportunity to run both pubs in tandem.

“They are very different pubs, and at opposite ends of Stratton-St-Margaret,” he says. “The New Inn is a good pub which has enjoyed an excellent trade in the past and there’s no other sports bar like it down this end of Stratton.”

Ross and Dawn have been landlords at The Crown Inn for five years. “Stratton has been really good to us, so this is an opportunity for us to give something back by working to build the business up again,” he said.

Brewery director, George Arkell, said: “It’s great to get The New Inn open again. While the pub does suffer from particularly high business rates being levied on it by the council, we’re hoping that with an experienced landlord like Ross running the pub, it’s got a bright future.”

Arkell’s has owned The New Inn for 130 years, and seen Stratton-St-Margaret grow up around it. Now close to the Greenbridge cinema and retail park complex, it’s well-known locally as a sports bar, especially in the football and rugby season.

Wantage hotel “Bears” heavyweight investment 23/01/2015

The most recent investment of £30,000 in a new kitchen has topped a total investment of around half a million pounds over the last five years in The Bear Hotel at Wantage, by owners Arkell’s Brewery and landlords Keith and Jo Walkley-Pratt.

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Since the Wiltshire brewery bought The Bear in 2005, it has undergone substantial investment to include new bars, restaurants and toilets. Recent investment has included a rolling upgrade of the 34 bedrooms, a brand new residents’ lounge and the refurbished kitchen which has probably the largest extractor fan in Oxfordshire, according to brewery director George Arkell.

“The hotel is located right in the centre of Wantage, on the town square, and in the expert hands of Keith and Jo it’s getting busier by the week,” he said. “Due to the increased number of customers, the kitchen was no longer really fit for purpose so we’ve installed some of the latest kitchen equipment, including the mammoth extractor fan system, in order to meet the demand for high quality food.

“While it’s really good to invest in the public areas where customers can see first hand the improvements we are putting into the hotel, this time we’ve spread the investment to our fantastic head chef Dylan Bettson, who’s been at the hotel for five years.”

Landlord Keith Walkley-Pratt, added: “We’ve run a number of Arkell’s pubs and hotels over the years but we’re probably proudest of The Bear at Wantage which is set in the heart of the local community, a great many of whom are now regular customers. When the townspeople support you, you know you’re doing a good job and we thank them for their continued support.”

The Bear at Wantage has won Wantage and Grove’s Best Restaurant Award two years running.

A Master stroke! 21/01/2015

By popular demand, Arkell’s Brewery has re-released its beer, The Master, first brewed last June in celebration of its Chairman, James Arkell, who became Master of the Worshipful Company of Brewers, one of the oldest City Guilds which dates back to the 12th Century.

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A Master stroke!

The Master is a dark delicious stout with wheat, oats and roasted barley blended together with American hops. The beer will be available in casks throughout February and in bottles throughout the year.
Livery companies, or Guilds as they are often known, have been part of the social and commercial fabric of Europe since medieval times. Originally founded to protect the interests of various trades, Livery companies now flourish as charitable patrons, promoters of industry and guardians of heritage and tradition. The Brewers’ Company remains close to its trade, actively supporting the brewing industry and education in brewing. It has a major philanthropic role as trustee to substantial charitable trust funds supporting two schools, multiple other educational initiatives and a number of almshouses.
The Company was granted a charter by Henry VI in 1438.

James is the first of the Arkell family to become Master of the Brewers’ Company, and joins an illustrious roll call of previous Masters representing the very best of the industry. He said: “I was honoured to become the next Master of the Brewers’ Company. It is a role with a lot of responsibility and I am really enjoying representing this glorious industry at the highest levels.”
James took on the role from the previous incumbent, Stephen Goodyear, CEO of Youngs Brewery, based in Wandsworth, London.

From field to plate at Fairford 20/01/2015

Most chefs hark on about using ‘ingredients found on their door steps’ but how about from the field next door via the butcher over the road. This is the case for Jamie Woods, chef at The Bull Hotel in Fairford.

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Tom Payton, Jamie Woods, Andrew Butler & The Bull landlord Ian Summers

Fairford beef is now on the menu thanks to local farmer Tom Paton and the towns butcher - Andrew Butler. Tom Payton whose family have been farming at Milton Farm in Fairford for 40 years explains why Fairford Beef tastes so good "The cows are a mix of traditional British breeds, Angus, Hereford and Shorthorn, and are grazed on the meadows of the river Coln. The meadows are in a stewardship scheme which means they receive no artificial fertiliser and are treated to enhance the habitat for wildlife and the health of the river rather than solely for production. The cows are served by an Aberdeen Angus bull in June and July to give birth in March and April. After a summer with their Mothers and a winter indoors they have a final summer grazing before going to the Butchers at 18 to 24 months old"

The beef is only available via Fairford’s butcher Andrew Butler. Anything that does not go to him goes to market with Tom but it is at the butchers it gets the attention explained Andrew. “It’s part of that Cotswold experience. We have some fabulous suppliers around but this beef is something special. We mature it for 28 days before passing it on to Jamie at the Bull. No food miles or CO₂ footprint here, my team just walk over the market place to the Bull.

Jamie (chef at The Bull) and Ian (manager and proprietor) have become more interested in where their meat comes from and how to use it sustainably and so we have been supplying them with Beef and other locally sourced meats.”

The quality and availability of the beef has given Chef Jamie plenty of inspiration for his autumn, winter and spring menus.

“We currently have it on in four forms and are looking at other unusual ideas Bull manager Ian Bull said. Jamie has created a homemade corned beef hash with his own homemade brown sauce which is going down really well with the regulars. People also love our roast beef on a Sunday.” "For us it is also about being sustainable with the animal so we look at recipes which use less well known cuts, typically use much slower cooking techniques and are packed with flavor"

The Bull Hotel are also working on a Celebration of Fairford Beef evening that will have some of Jamie’s ideas on the menu for its guests. “I actually want to do some quite classical dishes with a modern slant” he explained, “We want to showcase Fairford beef and its fantastic flavor”

For more information or to book a table please call The Bull Hotel on 01285 712535 or email info@thebullhotelfairford.co.uk.

Something in the beer? 16/01/2015

It’s not even the end of January but three landlords within Arkell’s estate of managed house pubs have announced engagements, and Arkell’s managed house controller Julie Moss is wondering whether head brewer Alex Arkell, who only got married himself in 2013, has put something in the beer.

Stephen Newton & Hannah Soden at The King

Stephen Newton and Hannah Soden run The King’s Arm’s at Malmesbury,

Stephen Newton and Hannah Soden run The King’s Arm’s at Malmesbury, Adrian (known to everyone as AJ), landlord at The Saracen’s Head, Highworth is marrying his long-time sweetheart Emma Peerun and Summer Lancaster of The Riverside Inn, Lechlade is marrying Paul Fitzgerald-Quilty after a whirlwind romance which only started last September.

Hannah and Stephen have been together for two years. She said: “Stephen proposed this week while we were having a short break in Dublin. He was planning on proposing when we were on holiday in Mexico in June, but he forgot the ring, then another family member got engaged, so he waited a little bit longer.”

Saracen’s Head landlord, AJ, will be marrying his long-term sweetheart Emma in Mauritius next year as she is from a Mauritian family. The couple have a three year old daughter. “We want to have the wedding with her family, so we’re saving up for the wedding this year”, said AJ.

For Summer Lancaster at The Riverside Inn, Lechlade, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind romance. She only met Paul last September. “He was on the opposing Aunt Sally team and we clicked immediately,” she said. “It’s wonderful. We’re having a big engagement party later this year, but the wedding probably won’t be for a while longer – the Riverside Inn is a big pub to run and we want to plan the wedding properly.”

Brewery director George Arkell, said: “What a way to kick start 2015. There’s nothing better than wedding bells and we’re already looking forward to raising our glasses to some long and happy marriages.”

Managed house controller, Julie Moss, says she’s already hunting for a hat. “I can’t think of three nicer couples to get hitched and I’m looking forward to hearing all their plans, but I’m also going to check with our head brewer that he’s not added a secret ingredient into his beer lately.”

Brewery launches Arkell’s Academy with Swindon College 12/01/2015

Following the success of Arkell’s staff training programmes last year, the Wiltshire brewery is taking a major step forward in 2015, teaming up with Swindon College to offer local training on nationally recognised hospitality qualifications for all its managed houses. The training will be rolled out to tenancies later this year.

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Left to right, Ian Vockins, Swindon College, George Arkell, director Arkell’s Brewery, Adrian Mitchell, landlord at The Saracen’s Head, Highworth. Eisley Haines, chef at The Saracen’s Head, and Julie Moss, Arkell’s managed house controller.

Brewery launches Arkell’s Academy in conjunction with Swindon College

Brewery director George Arkell, said: “We’ve been running British Institute of Innkeeping courses for some years, and last year we instigated customer care courses, run by Welcome Host who trained the 2012 Olympic greeters so successfully. This collaboration with Swindon College will drive up standards within the industry to meet the needs of customers in an increasingly competitive environment.”

The Arkell’s Academy is a tailored mix of apprenticeships and NVQs alongside bespoke additional training, all designed to support those working in the industry, whether that’s in the bar, the kitchen or in pub management, who would like to build on their career.

George added: “The most successful landlords are those who have benefitted from good quality training and the Arkell’s Academy, where tradition meets ambition, aims at giving those in the hospitality industry the best possible foundation for a long and successful career.”

Oyez, Oyez, Oyez! Pub landlord is new Fairford Town Crier 02/12/2014

Rob Blake, Landlord at The Plough Inn, Fairford has become the new Fairford town crier after being selected for the role by the town council.

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Rob, 66, who has been landlord at The Plough on London Road for five years, has taken over from Maurice Jones who retired as Fairford town crier after an incredible 30 years.

Rob said: “I’ve got very big shoes to fill, and I’ve never done anything like it before. I think the only reason I got the role is because I’ve got a good pair of tonsils and I’m not scared of using them.”

Rob is certainly looking forward to his new role, which he will undertake in conjunction with his day job running the Arkell’s pub.

Brewery director, George Arkell, said: “Rob has the build, beard and personality to be a fantastic town crier, and we’re looking forward to seeing him in action in and around Fairford. Town crying is probably the oldest form of true social media.”

Town criers have been around for hundreds of years. They were historically officers of court who made public announcements on their behalf and became an important means of spreading local and national news to the many people who could not read or write.

Their outfits made them stand out, and even more so now. Rob’s, which was paid for by the town council, was made especially for him by seamstress Barbara Daw who lives at Wootton-under-Edge and it takes him three quarters of an hour to get dressed.

“There are nine pieces of clothing to put on and one item to carry,” he said. His shoes have buckles, there are stockings, breeches, a waistcoat, coat, cape, jabot (decorative ruffle around the neck), cuffs, hat and of course his bell.

Rob will be performing his new duties at various events over the Christmas period and is available for bookings where a town crier might be needed. He can be contacted at The Plough, Fairford on 01285 712409.

Awards keep coming for Arkell’s Brewery 28/11/2014

Arkell’s has picked up two more awards, this time for its keg beers, making it a record-breaking year for awards at the Wiltshire brewery, and coming hot on the heels of a national award for its Bees Organic ale last month.

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Alex Arkell with his award-winning beer

The Small Independent Brewers’ Association (SIBA), formed in 1980 and now one of the most respected and vocal beer industry bodies campaigning on behalf of independent breweries, has given a gold award to Arkell’s 1843 craft lager, in the pale and golden lagers category of its South Region competition. The same Arkell’s brew received a national SIBA award earlier this year. Added to that, Arkell’s Hurricane beer received a silver award at the same southwest regional finals, in the craft beer in keg category.

The 1843 craft lager will now go forward to the national awards in 2015, and head brewer Alex Arkell is already in a state of anticipation as to the result.

“I can’t believe that we’ve secured two awards in less than a year for our 1843 Craft lager against so much strong competition,” he said. “And it’s our first award for Hurricane, which I’m really proud of.”

The 1843 craft lager was described by SIBA judges as having: “A malty, hoppy and sweet taste,” while the Hurricane Ale, launched in 2012 during the Royal International Air Tattoo, was “Sweet and fruity, delicious.”

Interest is growing in keg beer, according to Alex, but it does takes longer to produce. “A keg beer requires an extra week fermenting before being sterile filtered and kegged, all of which we do here at Kingsdown brewery,” he said.

“I believe that with the right knowledge, ingredients and equipment you can achieve just as much flavour from a keg beer as a cask ale,” he added.

Rolling out the barrels at Arkell’s Brewery 24/11/2014

500 brand new stainless steel barrels were rolled into Arkell’s Brewery this week ready to replace more of the aluminium casks that have been in regular use at the brewery since the 1960s.

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We've got Alex over a barrel .... or 500!

The £35,000 investment by the brewery will further help maintain the quality and consistence of the beer. Each barrel costs around £60, holds 72 pints of beer and has ‘Arkell’s Brewery’ embossed around the collar.

Traditionally beer barrels were made by a Cooper out of wood and bound by metal hoops – and the Arkell’s cooper’s fireplace is still clearly in evidence at the brewery today, next to the brewery chimney. Aluminium barrels were introduced in the 1960s because they were around 30% lighter and easier for the draymen to carry and easier to clean, improving the beers consistency.

Head brewer Alex Arkell, said: “Our old barrels have transported beer to all our pubs and many free houses for decades across the South of England and it’s time for them to retire from active service and we’re delighted with our delivery of brand new Arkell’s branded barrels.”

Three beer barrel facts essential for impressing your mates down the pub

• A ‘barrel’ originally referred to the volume of beer, not the container in which it was kept. In mediaeval times a barrel equalled 36 imperial gallons.
• Wooden casks were made of vertical strips of oak (staves), held tightly together by horizontal steel hoops. To be watertight, the staves were tapered and bowed, making a belly shape – allowing them to be rolled easily - and lifted more easily too.
• Wood barrels were used largely up to the mid 20th century when steel casks were introduced, then aluminium was used because it was 30% lighter than steel.

Paul falls in to the Masons Arms 07/11/2014

Paul Fallows has spent the last four years telling other landlords how to run their pubs but now, after taking over as landlord at The Masons Arms at Meysey Hampton, the boot is firmly on the other foot.

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Head Brewer Alex Arkell welcomes Paul Fallows to The Masons Arms

However it’s not much of a risk for pub owners Arkell’s Brewery because Paul, 32, has been in the business for over ten years, running The Baker’s Arms at Somerford Keynes for five years before moving to his previous role of development manager for a large pubco.
Paul set his sights set on running The Masons Arms years ago. “Meysey Hampton is a brilliant village with fantastic villagers and deserves a pub to match,” he said. “I’ve got many friends here and I knew the opportunity to take the pub on would come up eventually, so when Arkell’s finally got in touch, I didn’t hesitate. Now all I’ve got to do is put the advice I gave the other pubs into practice here.”
It didn’t take long for news of the new pub landlord to filter across the surrounding area and on the first night there was a queue of people outside the pub waiting to get in and welcome Paul and his team, including his nephew Luke Fallows his deputy manager, to the pub.
The key to a successful village pub is good beer, the people and the welcome, according to Paul. “We’re in a lovely Gloucestershire village, so we expect wellies, paws and families and we’re happy to leave the gastro food offer to others. We’ll be offering well-sourced good food and a comfortable nights sleep for those wanting a bed for the night.”
Brewery director, George Arkell, said: “The Masons Arms couldn’t be in more capable and experienced hands, and we are delighted that the village has already taken the new team to their hearts. With support like that, Paul is off to a flying start.”

Arkell’s Bee’s Organic is a real honey 05/11/2014

Wiltshire brewery Arkell’s has added another trophy to its growing collection after collecting the top award in the Honey Beer class from this year’s National Honey Show.

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Nick and Alex Arkell get up close and personal to Nick's honey bees!

Arkell’s Bee’s Organic Ale (4.5% ABV) was judged best in class. This is yet another award, and the second this year, for this premium ale, which has picked up accolades regularly since it was launched in 2001.

Bee’s Organic Ale uses organically-grown malted barley, hops and honey, all of which give this golden premium bottled ale a light, fresh taste, and its continued success has now encouraged two members of the Arkell family to get up close and personal to the producers of its key ingredient.

Nick Arkell, Arkell’s Brewery Sales Director, has been keeping bees since 2010 and head brewer Alex Arkell was so keen to learn more about the vital ingredient of his award-winning ale he went to visit Nick’s beehives.

According to the British Beekeepers Association, there are some commercial beekeepers, but beekeeping in Britain is still largely a hobby.

Nick said: “Our hives have produced lots of honey this year, thanks in part to the warmer summer weather and I would love to supply all the honey needed for our beer, but sadly it’s not organic and we couldn’t guarantee a consistent supply.”

Alex added: “To satisfy the thousands of people who buy Bee’s Organic regularly we’d need a consistent source of supply so at the moment we buy from a trusted commercial supplier, but I loved seeing Nick’s beehives and it’s definitely given me a taste for honey - I’m going to learn more about beekeeping.

“What I really love about honey is that, along with the other ingredients of our beers such as malt, hops, barley and yeast, it’s a completely natural ingredient and it’s been used in all sorts of ways for centuries.”

The ancient Greeks believed that consuming honey could help men and women live longer.

Alex added: “I’ll definitely drink to its health-giving benefits – and to the health of the judges at the National Honey Show.”

More than a ‘Brief Encounter’ for Kemble’s Tavern customers 29/10/2014

With faceless ticket machines taking over from ticket officers at rural railway stations and platform waiting rooms closing down fast, rail commuters will often only have a ‘brief encounter’ with a human being as they race through to catch their trains.

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George Arkell with Ann and Phil Basford

But that no longer need be the case at Kemble station, near Cirencester, after new landlords at The Tavern next door, Phil and Ann Basford, dubbed their new pub ‘the best railway waiting room in the country’ after they moved in.

“We found that we started welcoming people from around 4pm in the afternoon, when they got off the train and fancied a quick pint before they went home, or while waiting for people or connections. We’re as close to the station as some station waiting rooms and commuters are very welcome, as they mix well with our regulars,” said Phil.

Arkell’s is also investing in a brand new £20,000 kitchen for the pub so Phil and Ann can boost their food offer to meet demand.

Brewery director, George Arkell, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Phil and Ann to The Tavern. They’ve got 30 years of experience running pubs, and if the classic 1945 film Brief Encounter was made today, the infamous tryst between the lovers in the platform teashop might just have had a different, happier ending if it was filmed in The Tavern pub – over a pint of Arkell’s ale rather than a pot of tea.”

New faces all around at The George at Lambourn 20/10/2014

It’s change in stereo for The George at Lambourn which not only has a new face behind the bar, but is also presenting a brand new face to the village following a £150,000 refurbishment inside and out by owners Arkell’s Brewery.

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Caroline & Oliver Taggart

And over 70 people crowded into the pub, including local owners and trainers, villagers, businesses (including Lee Power, owner of Swindon Town Football Club), to see brewery chairman James Arkell pull the first pint following completion of the work.

The refurbishment has included the installation of a new bar, relocation of the loos, a new kitchen, restaurant area and a fresh face of paint around the entire pub.

The new landlord is Oliver Taggart, well-known for owning and running The Maltshovel pub in Upper Lambourn for 13 years before selling up and moving into the centre of the village when the Arkell’s tenancy became available.

Oliver said: “Running a pub in a more rural location has its challenges these days with the rightly rigorous drink/driving regulations and we wanted to be back in the thick of things, where more people can walk to the pub. Since we took over, the pub has been buzzing, in fact we ran out of beer over our first weekend – but it won’t happen again, I’ve upped my order from the brewery.”

Brewery director, George Arkell, said: “We’ve owned The George at Lambourn since 1924 and it’s only had six landlords since then. Oliver is a big character, a perfect fit for The George. He’ll be the heart and soul of the pub, which is great for village life, especially for Lambourn, with its large population and lots of young people, many part of the racing community. This is a great social hub.”

Oliver’s wife Caroline agreed: “The pub is for everyone, but many young people who live in the village don’t necessarily come from here and they are already using the pub as their home from home. It all makes for a fantastic atmosphere.”

Arkell’s: Licensed to Fill 18/10/2014

The next generation of Swindon’s landlords are now ‘licensed to fill’ your glass with beer after completing their British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) Personal Licence Holders course at the brewery.

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In the photograph: Jessica Webster and Mark Notman, The Lansdowne, Calne; Tara Whittam, The Woodpecker, Newbury; Keilly Avenall, New Inn, Stratton; Chas Dowry, Alex Rogers, Chris Husband; Tony Forknall and Georgia Mackey, Exmouth Arms. Cheltenham; Callum Kaye and Wesley Lima, The King’s Arms, Old Town, Swindon; Matthew Easy, The Jovial Monk, Angie Botting, The Duke of Edinburgh.

Arkell’s is now putting training at the core of our pub operations, running not only the BII Level 1, 2 and 3 Personal Licence course, but also cellar management courses to ensure high beer quality and responsible alcohol and premises supervisor courses. The courses are open to everyone, not just Arkell’s landlords and staff, as Arkell’s consider it a contribution to supporting the wider licensed trade and run every three months at Arkell’s Training Centre at the Brewery.

The brewery also runs Welcome Host customer care courses and is in discussion with Swindon College to support an apprenticeship scheme, where young people can follow a recognised and regulated route into the industry through studying for NVQs.

Brewery director, George Arkell, said: “We’ve always run regular training courses, but now we’ve expanded the number we offer because we want our pub staff to have the opportunity to build their careers in the industry, and that can only be done properly by good quality training. We also want to ensure that young people coming into the industry have the best possible start.”

Angie Botting, 32, was one of the latest to go through the training course at Arkell’s. She works at The Duke of Edinburgh, on Cricklade Road, Swindon. “I haven’t had a day off sick for seven years,” she said. “My boss, Mark Thompson, is the landlord and he’s great. It was his idea that I do this course. I love working at the pub and it fits in well with my home life.

George added: “As an industry we have a responsibility to raise standards and aspirations.

For more information on the training courses available at Arkell’s Brewery, contact Lesley Davis, Tied Trade Secretary at Arkell’s on 01793 833961 or email Lesley@arkells.com

Arkell’s launches Remembrance Beer to celebrate WW1 centenary 15/10/2014

As part of the WW1 100th anniversary this year, Arkell’s Brewery is brewing a brand new commemorative beer for the Royal British Legion.

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Old Contemptible

The beer will be called “Old Contemptible” and will use an old recipe using British ingredients. The brewery is donating £10 per cask sold to the poppy appeal.

The beer is being officially launched on Wednesday October 22 at 12pm at Arkells Brewery, Kingsdown with members of The Royal British Legion.

Brewery chairman, James Arkell, said: “To mark this important centenary we have brewed a Mild ale, a style of beer that would have been drunk by my grandfather and the soldiers in 1914, and is one of England’s most traditional beers.”

Head brewer Alex Arkell, said: “I have used only English ingredients with a black colour and warm roasted and sweet tones coming from the chocolate malt with a light hop aroma to compliment it. At 4.0% this is considered strong for a mild, however having looked through our records and done some research we noticed that before WWI our mild was stronger. Then the government wanted people to drink less because of their work in the munitions factories so they forced breweries to reduce the alcohol. Hence mild became known as a weaker pint. But we thought we would brew the original version.”

The name, ‘Old Contemptibles’ was self-adopted by British troops belonging to the regular army in 1914, it was supposedly derived from a comment made by the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II. The Kaiser, upon hearing that German forces were being held up in France while en route to the French capital, is said to have exclaimed his exasperation of "Sir John French's contemptible little army.” Whatever the actual origin the British regulars were delighted to be referred to as 'The Old Contemptibles' and named their post-war veterans' association accordingly.

Sir John Denton Pinkstone French (1852-1925) commanded the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in Europe in the opening days of the war, August 1914.

Alex added: “Both my great grandfather Noel Arkell and great Uncle Graham Arkell fought in WWI and survived, although Noel did return wounded having been shot in the shoulder.”

Life now assured for Duke, Hilmarton landlords 26/09/2014

Thirty years of credit claims management at a Swindon insurance company is enough for anyone. It certain was for Lesley Williams. She and her husband John (a roofer and builder) have reinvented their careers. Now they are landlords at The Duke Hotel, Hilmarton near Calne and after a little paddling under the surface, they’ve taken to their new lives like ducks to water.

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“I’d also spent five years working part time at Swindon Town Football Club in their bar and at events, and loved it,” said Lesley. “All I needed to do was to persuade John.”

He didn’t need much of a push. “I’d done my time in the building trade and was ready for something new,” he said.

The couple took over the Arkell’s pub earlier this year and are bringing in new customers after revamping the menus and introducing monthly community events to support the village. “We love the social side, though running your own pub is very different to working for someone else,” says Lesley. “At the beginning we were working 18 hours a day, and then getting up and doing it all again the next day. Now we’re more settled and it’s brilliant.”

The Duke at Hilmarton was built in 1843, the same years at Arkell’s Brewery opened. It originally had its own brewery at the back. That building is now listed. Arkell’s bought the pub in 1923 and brewing moved to the main brewery in Swindon.

After getting the pub straight, including the hotel rooms above, and achieving national Cask Marque approval for the quality of John’s beer, Lesley and John are now turning their attention to the pub’s lovely, but previously overgrown enclosed gardens. “We cut down a number of huge shrubs and were stunned when a fabulous view across the Wiltshire countryside was revealed,” said John. “It’s transformed the whole pub and is the most wonderful place for customers to sit outside in the evenings. We’ve created secluded nooks for couples as well as a large family area, with a new summerhouse where their children can play safely.

“Running a pub has given us both a new lease of life and we love what we’re doing,” added Lesley.

Panto Launch At The Riverside 23/09/2014

The Riverside at Lechlade proved the perfect location for the press launch of the Swindon Wyvern panto for 2014 - Dick Whittington.

This year's star, Nigel Havers, was joined by newcomer Lucy Kane, alongside her well known mum Linda Lusardi, and pantomime favourite David Ashley, who has performed in the Wyvern Theatre’s festive productions for the last three years.

Watch our Arkell's video of the event.


Archbishop of Canterbury visits Arkells 13/09/2014

As part of The Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit to the Diocese of Bristol from 12-14 September, James Arkell, Chairman of Arkell’s Brewery was delighted to welcome Archbishop Justin Welby to the Brewery today for lunch hosted by The Bishop of Swindon and attended by community and business leaders from across Swindon. The Archbishop spoke on ‘The Spirituality of Leadership’.

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The row of a lifetime for Chris 13/09/2014

Late last year Chris Spencer, 48, had a second life-saving bone marrow transplant co-ordinated by the Anthony Nolan Trust. In September it was payback time as Chris set out on a grueling 150 mile, three and a half day row of the Thames in aid of the charity that helped save his life.

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Before being diagnosed with blood cancer leukaemia, Chris represented England and Great Britain and at the age of 18 was GB Junior Sculling Champion.

Chris, rowing at Stroke, was joined on the row by Robbie Coleman (Bow Man), Daniel Bartlett (No2) and Roger Spencer (No3 – and Chris’s brother), a Swan Upper for the Worshipful Company of Vintners (as is Chris) and Cox was Paul Prentice, Royal Waterman to the Queen Bargemaster to the Worshipful Company of Vintners.

Nick Arkell’s, Sales Director at Arkells and also a member of the Worshipful Company of Vintners, welcomed the men to The Riverside Inn, at Lechlade, owned by Arkell’s Brewery and the closest pub to the source of the Thames at nearby Kemble, Gloucestershire.

Chris said: "When I was younger, Anthony Nolan was a real boy who tragically didn't survive leukaemia. Today there is a greater understanding of the disease and a far better survival rate, provided people can find a suitable donor. I'm hoping that my Great Thames Row effort will be noticed. Even if it only encourages one donor to sign up and one life be saved, the effort will be worth it. But I sincerely hope a lot more donors will step forward and many more lives will be saved as we support Anthony Nolan in its work."

The Golden Cross is Red/White/Blue too 05/09/2014

Cirencester has a new social meeting space – The Stable Bar at The Golden Cross and while most publicans would call in local painters and decorators for a refurb, Golden Cross landlord Mark Lindesay instead turned to one of his regular customers, top designer - Gary Birks.

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The Golden Cross Skittle Alley, transformed

Over the past few months the pub’s old skittle alley has been revamped, turning the once under-used space into a multi-function hub – The Stable Bar.

The venue has been transformed with the help of two local designers – Gary Birks of GaryBirks.com and Bethany Rose Interiors, both offered their advice and consultancy to create an inspiring space which is brighter, lighter and more inviting than the skittle alley of old.

“Gary’s advice was inspirational and I am very pleased with the outcome,” says Mark Lindesay. “He worked closely with a new, local interior design firm, Bethany Rose Interiors."

The new-look Stable Bar can host events ranging from weddings, private parties, birthdays, corporate events and more. With its sporting theme, featuring prints and pictures of countryside pursuits adorning the walls, the Stable Bar also boasts three large-screen TVs, which will be showing live sporting events via Sky Sports and BT Sport.

Arkell’s Brewery goes green 02/09/2014

148 solar panels costing a total of around £50,000 are now catching the last rays of summer sun on the roof at Arkell’s Brewery

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Alex Arkells celebrates the brewery's new solar panels

The Wiltshire brewery has just completed installation of the solar panels to cut energy consumption and reduce costs.
“We have three massive cooling systems to keep our beer and lager cold, all using significant amounts of energy,” said Head Brewer Alex Arkell. “In fact powering our cooling systems is the biggest energy cost for the brewery.
““Our Beer is an all-natural product and looking after the environment that gives us the ingredients is critical. Over the last few years we have been working to reduce our carbon footprint, first through buying ingredients more locally where we can and now harnessing the sunshine to reduce our energy costs.”
The brewery’s energy consumption has risen this year as sales of its 1843 lager have taken off. 1843 lager requires a month of cooling whereas Arkell’s real ale needs just five days of cooling before it’s ready to drink.
The Capacity of the new system is 37 KWpk, which is estimated to be able to produce 35,261 kWh of electricity per year, depending on the sunshine, all of which will be used in the brewery. Even on a late summer afternoon, the panels generate 18 kWh.
“Apart from it being extremely rewarding to be using a green energy source, we estimate that we should receive payback on the solar panels within five or six years,” added Alex.

Arkell’s signs three year deal with Swindon Town Football Club 29/08/2014

Arkell’s Brewery has once again renewed its sponsorship of Swindon Town Football Club, signing a six-figure commitment for the next three years

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Nick Arkell, Mark Cooper, Raphael Rossi Blanco and Alex Arkell look like they're 'heading' for trouble!

The deal includes continued sponsorship of the Arkell’s stand, now a multi-million pound structure but for which Thomas Arkell of Arkell's Brewery loaned £300 in the 1896 to finance the construction of a stand on what was then known as the 'Wiltshire County Ground', this investment was enough to begin development of a purpose built football ground seen today. The loan was written off in 1901!
Brewery Sales Director, Nick Arkell, said: “Swindon Town Football Club and Arkell’s Brewery go back a very, very long way, but our relationship is as strong as ever. We’ve supported the club through the good times and the bad because both businesses are Swindon Town institutions.”
Swindon Town Football Club General Manager, Steve Anson, said: “It’s fantastic that Arkell’s commitment to the club remains strong as ever and everyone here appreciates their continued support. This is Swindon’s oldest business supporting the town’s biggest spectator sport.”
To celebrate the deal Swindon Town Football Club manager, Mark Cooper, visited the brewery with centre back defender Raphael Rossi Branco, the 20-year old Brazilian player, now in his second season with the club to meet Nick Arkell and head brewer Alex Arkell.
“Beer and football are inextricably linked,” added Nick. “We are very proud of our town team and are looking forward to a fantastic season.”

It's the V Festival for Dan 12/08/2014

.. and the winner is...... Dan Hopwood, 18, of Calne who entered our 1843 Lager competition while working at The Lansdowne Strand Hotel and wins a trip to this weekend's V Festival.

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Congratulations Dan and enjoy the weekend (and the weather's looking better too!). and WHAT a lineup: Lily Allen, Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran, Kaiser Chiefs, even The Stranglers...... http://www.vfestival.com/lineup/

Chef returns home to head up Cotswold hotel kitchen 30/07/2014

He shares the same first name as his boyhood chef hero and is just as determined to be a success in the kitchen as Jamie Woods takes charge of the kitchen of The Bull Hotel in Fairford.

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The new head chef, just 24, has come back to his home town after stints in kitchens of The Swan at Bibury and The Four Pillars Hotel situated at the Cerney lakes, where he enjoyed various roles, working his way up the ranks under the likes of Chris Hutchings amongst others.

Jamie has been a keen cook since the age of 15 when he would sit and watch the TV programmes of Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey and ‘Enfant Terrible’ - Marco Pierre White. It is people like this that inspired him to get into the kitchen as well as his cooking style and philosophy. “It may sound cliché but having things fresh and in season is very important to me,” Jamie explained. “The Bull Hotel has so many great food sources around it, would be a shame not to use them.

“We have Fairford beef on our doorstep from Andrew Butler Butchers, lamb from nearby Coln St Aldwyns, trout from Bibury and eggs from a great farm in Welford, what more could a chef want?”

Jamie is also keen to use the produce of Arkells, the brewery that own the hotel. “I want to use everything around me and using the beer for our batter and the ciders for things like mussels is also something I like to do, making the kitchen all encompassing.”

Jamie is recently married and you can guess where he had the wedding breakfast - The Bull Hotel. Asked what dish he Jamie would cook for his new wife he said it “would have to be duck, served with fondant potato, wilted spinach and a cherry sauce.”

The Bull hotel has undergone various changes since being taken over last year by current managers Ian and Liz Summers and getting the chef they want is important. “Jamie loves food and has a natural synergy with us understanding what we are trying to do,” said Ian.

“We want to get the menu up to the level it should be and his idea of having four to five kitchen classics, such as shepherd’s pie, beer battered fish and chips and of course a good pie on there as well as seasonal dishes like spiced pork belly, and Carpaccio of Fairford beef is fantastic and shows that we are moving in the right direction.

“Jamie’s home cured corned beef hash served with a fried duck egg and homemade brown sauce will go down a storm with regulars and hotel visitors showing what a diverse customer base we have here.” Ian added.

For more information or to book a table please call The Bull Hotel on 01285 712535 or email info@thebullhotelfairford.co.uk.

Punching above their weight in Woodstock 23/07/2014

They’ve run airport hotels at Gatwick, and flagship pubs and restaurants across the UK, even a Holiday Inn in South Africa. Now Robert and Maureen Maund have taken on the tenancy of Arkell’s Brewery pub The Punchbowl at Woodstock, a stones throw away from Blenheim Palace.

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Robert and Maureen Maund outside The Punchbowl

This isn’t their first pub in Oxfordshire, however. The couple ran The Bear and Ragged Staff at Cumnor a few years’ ago and other pubs in the North Cotswolds before that.
While The Punchbowl is a smaller pub than Robert and Maureen have been used to, with just ten letting rooms and a large bar and lounge, it’s perfectly formed for the couple who are hoping to take things a little easier after 40 years in the licensed trade, but don’t yet feel ready to retire.
“Small can be just as challenging as large, but this is a lovely pub in a pretty town and we’ve got a great partnership with Arkell’s Brewery,” said Robert.
Under Robert and Maureen’s watch, The Punchbowl has also returned to being a traditional pub without Skysports and a Jukebox. “We love proper pubs, with no pretentions but good food and a congenial atmosphere,” explained Robert, and the response from customer has been very positive.
“We’ve already welcomed lots of the local town traders in, as well as residents who haven’t been in the pub for years,” he added.
Brewery director George Arkell, said; “Robert and Maureen are absolute professionals. The Punchbowl looks gorgeous and it might not be as big as the airport hotels they’ve run in the past, but it’s definitely top flight and first class for service and location.”

Arkell’s is Hopping Mad again 13/07/2014

After the huge success of Arkell’s 2013 English Hop Ale collection, the Wiltshire brewery is doing it again this year, launching four beers each using an individual hop from around the world. And the first beer of the Arkell’s International Hop Collection uses the New Zealand hop Waimea.


From August and over the following four months, Arkell’s brewing team will be producing four 3.6% ABV beers using hops from New Zealand, Slovenia, the US and Poland.
Head Brewer Alex Arkell explained: “These countries are four of the best hop-growing countries in the world. They have much of the right soil and environment for the hops to grow better. In fact, there are only around a dozen countries in the world that grow hops at all. Much like grapes, hops from different regions grow with different characteristics.”
Hops were introduced to beer brewing in the 1300s, mainly because of their preservative properties. By boiling this particular plant with the sugary wort, the beer lasted longer in the cask and larger production and distribution became possible for the small brewers. Each hop variety adds a totally unique character to a beer.

Before brewers used hops they would add in a variation of different spices, called gruit, to compliment the malty sweetness of the brew
Alex added: “We want to demonstrate how much hops vary in flavour internationally – each country produces hops with a distinct flavour. The New Zealand Weimea should have a hint of tangerine sweetness there.”
Arkell’s International Hop Collection beers will be available in all Arkell’s pubs from August.

He’s The Master! 11/07/2014

Chairman of Wiltshire family brewery Arkell’s, James Arkell, was inaugurated in London today as the Master of the Worshipful Company of Brewers, one of the oldest City Guilds which dates back to the 12th Century.

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In celebration, Arkell’s has brewed another exceptional beer. Called The Master, it is a dark delicious stout with wheat, oats and roasted barley blended together with American hops. The beer will be available in casks all this month and in bottles throughout the year.
Livery companies, or Guilds as they are often known, have been part of the social and commercial fabric of Europe since medieval times. Originally founded to protect the interests of various trades, Livery companies now flourish as charitable patrons, promoters of industry and guardians of heritage and tradition. The Brewers’ Company remains close to its trade, actively supporting the brewing industry and education in brewing. It has a major philanthropic role as trustee to substantial charitable trust funds supporting two schools, multiple other educational initiatives and a number of almshouses.
The Company was granted a charter by Henry VI in 1438.

James is the first of the Arkell family to become Master of the Brewers’ Company, and joins an illustrious roll call of previous Masters representing the very best of the industry. He said: “I am honoured to become the next Master of the Brewers’ Company. It is a role with a lot of responsibility and I am looking forward to representing this glorious industry at the highest levels.”
James takes on the role from the previous incumbent, Stephen Goodyear, CEO of Youngs Brewery, based in Wandsworth, London.

Cheer up - pub serves drinks at 1966 prices 24/06/2014

A great story from the Swindon Advertiser today. http://m.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/11295600.Cheer_up___pub_serves_drinks_at_1966_prices/?ref=mr

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Angie & John Honeyman at The Swiss Chalet, Gorse Hill. Photograph taken by The Swindon Advertiser

IN an effort to ease the pain of England’s dead rubber with Costa Rica, The Swiss Chalet’s John Honeyman is offering punters pints for 10p if they pay it in cash from 1966.

If you turn up at the Chapel Street boozer with 10 pence in old money you will get a pint of your favourite ale or lager in return during the 90 minutes.

John, an experienced publican, is well aware England’s premature exit from the World Cup will no doubt affect footfall through his door this afternoon.

He is hoping this bizarre offer will have people digging in the back of wardrobes and rooting around in their attics for the old currency which hasn’t been used since 1971.

“We were on our way to a wedding in Liverpool at the weekend and we were brainstorming in the car on ideas to pick up custom for the England match,” he said.

“It just totally falls flat when England go out. We all spend a lot of money on staff t-shirts, bunting and stuff like that, hoping for a return.

“The biggest threat for us in our trade is from the supermarkets, who can offer huge crates of beer for £25, with pints working out at 49p.

“In today’s climate as well, it doesn’t help when the national team goes out.

“I was just trying to think of something from 1966, the last time we smiled about football. We have been listening to those stories for so long now, we just need some excitement back.”

Kick-off for this afternoon’s match is 5pm, when many punters will still be at work or just about to clock-off, providing another reason why pubs around the town might struggle to get bums on seats.

It may well be a challenge for those who do have the time to actually take advantage of the offer, with old money not so easy to come by nowadays.

“I should imagine somebody’s got a load of tat lying around,” said John. “I am sure people have got plenty of boxes in their attics waiting to be searched through.

“If we have anything worthwhile brought in, worth thousands for example, we will donate it to charity.”

The Swiss Chalet is not the only pub holding its breath ahead of the kick-off this afternoon.

The Steam Railway, in Newport Street, is hoping to capitalise on the interest in the other match in England’s group.

Uruguay and Italy will kick off at exactly the same time, with the winner qualifying from the group along with Costa Rica.

Howard Taylor, owner at the Steam Railway, said: “Obviously it’s disappointing to be in the situation we are in, but there are still a couple of reasons to come out and watch.

“There will be as much interest, if not more, in the other match in the group. And with the way we have got screens people will be able to watch both matches at the same time, side-by-side.

“The other thing, is that if we beat Costa Rica, we are likely to be beating the group winners, which brings a bit of pride.”

Stratton St Margaret Brownies serve tea at Arkell’s 30 years later 06/06/2014

The Brownie Guide movement is 100 years’ old this year and the 3rd Stratton St Margaret Brownies celebrated by ‘serving brownies tea in an usual place’, thirty years after they first took up the challenge at Arkell’s Brewery in Swindon in 1984

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It's all a bit different from serving pints!

Fourteen Brownies brought home baked cakes and buns and, with Brown Owl Angela Houssein and Snowy Owl Chris Fisher, served tea to brewery staff including Finance Director Barry Russell, Helen Ryan, retired head brewer Don Bracher, Lesley Davis, Chris Dicks and Margaret Leech.
The 1984 visit was recorded in the Swindon Evening Advertiser on April 19 of that year.
Chris Fisher, as Stratton St Margaret Pack Brown Owl brought the brownies the first time around in 1984. “Nothing’s changed very much,” she said. “And it was wonderful to be invited back. This is a truly historic part of Swindon and it was wonderful for the brownies, all of whom live in Upper Stratton, to see inside the brewery that most of them pass daily when they are out and about in Swindon.”
Don Bracher said: “We were delighted to welcome the brownies to the brewery. The cakes and scones they baked for us were simply delicious. On this one occasion the beer was firmly out of sight and mind as we all tucked into tea and brownies (of the chocolate kind) instead.”

Business as usual at The Talbot, Eynsham, even for parrots 04/06/2014

Well-known Oxfordshire landlord, Tony Viney, has taken over the tenancy of The Talbot, Eynsham. He will run the Arkell’s Brewery-owned pub with his business partner Ross Brazel.

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No parrot, but definitely Tony and Ross

“It’s a fantastic village pub with a lot of local goodwill as well as passing trade,” he said. “Such pubs don’t come up very often and I am delighted to be an Arkell’s landlord, having worked in more than one of the brewery’s pubs in the past. They are a wonderful family business who hold traditional business principles, supporting the landlord in making the pub his own.”
This is the first time in ten years that the pub has changed landlords and Tony and Ross have had some robust teasing from the locals. “Rumours are that we’ve banned dogs and our prices have gone up,” said Ross. “Our prices remain the same, and we even had a parrot in here the other day. We probably won’t welcome another parrot, but we do welcome well-behaved dogs, especially as we’re next to the Thames towpath and would lose trade if we didn’t.”
Tony takes such teasing in very good part, because he’s spent his career running village pubs and knows that local community support and ribbing go hand in hand. “At one stage I had six village pubs around the area with a previous business partner,” he said. “It was wonderful, but in the end we were running the business not the pubs. I didn’t want to sit in a leather chair with a polished desk and a profit and loss schedule in front of me. I prefer a good clean bar with a row of beer pumps, so we relinquished all six pubs and now I’m back to what I love doing most, rolling up my sleeves and getting to know the locals.”
Brewery director George Arkell was delighted to welcome Tony and Ross as tenants. “The Talbot is a gem of a pub and it’s not surprising that it’s been snapped up by Tony and Ross who are pub professionals.”
Tony added: “We’ve got no plans to make changes here. Our locals needn’t worry. Why change what works?”

Friday is D-Day for The Clifton Pub, Swindon in more ways than one 04/06/2014

Friday is D-Day – and also for The Clifton Pub, Clifton Street, Swindon which reopens that day with new landlords Darren and Vicky Turner, who also run 20 at The Kings and The Plough Inn, both in Old Town, Swindon.

It’s all a big co-incidence because according to amateur military historian Rodge J Dowson, who hails from Swindon but is now based in Yorkshire, The Clifton was one of the most popular hotels with the GIs of Easy Company (stationed at Aldbourne before D-Day and later immortalised in the American TV series, Band of Brothers). He said: “Bob Lundy D/506 remembers visiting this pub. Walt McCauley smashed his hand through the front door glass when he couldn’t wait for opening hour; he wanted the pub to be instantly open! The local Arkell\'s Brewery’s Mild & Bitter beer and darts were a part of the attraction.

Among the many military stationed in Swindon during the run-up to D-Day, 3Bs was generally understood to mean “Beer, Bicycles and Blackouts.”

Clifton Landlord, Darren Turner, said: “We had no idea about the D-Day connection and our opening on Friday is a total coincidence, but it will provide a special atmosphere to the occasion and we’d love to hear from any veterans who might have visited here during the war.”

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