Grow one this November says Arkell’s! 14/11/2017
Arkell’s is running our first ‘Movember’ campaign this November to encourage men to grow a moustache and help raise money for men’s health research.
Alex and George celebrate Movember with The Tawny Owl landlords Dan Brackenbury and Tracy Heath.
Every pint of Arkell’s Mustang Black craft stout sold in November and December will come with a scratch card. Winners will receive a selection of prizes: from exclusive T-shirts, brewery tours, a hotel stay and tickets to Wilderness Festival 2018.
Head brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “The first sip of a good pint of beer with a satisfying frothy head will leave beer froth on the top of the lips. So, when someone mentioned Movember, it got us thinking that we could do our bit to raise awareness of men’s health and contribute to prostate cancer research.”
Alex and his brother, Managing Director George Arkell, are leading by example, becoming ‘Mo-Bros’ by growing full facial hair for the next two months.
The Movember campaign began in Australia in 2003 when two mates from Melbourne were having a quiet beer together. Their conversation turned to recurring fashion trends. The moustache, a fixture in past decades, was nowhere to be seen in recent trends. They joked about bringing it back.
The two friends talked their mates into growing a ‘Mo’. Inspired by a friend’s mother who was fundraising for breast cancer, they decided to make the campaign about men’s health and prostate cancer.
Since 2003 the campaign has spread around the world, arriving in the UK in 2007 when it partnered with the UK’s Prostate Cancer Charity.
In the UK, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men – but Movember isn’t just about cancer. It’s broadened out to encompass wider men’s health issues, including mental health.
Alex said: “The global campaign started over a pint, so we’re making our pints work for the campaign.”
For every pint of Mustang Black bought while the Arkell’s campaign is running, a donation will be made to the Movember Foundation.
Arkell’s pays tribute to British military for Remembrance 07/11/2017
With a long and distinguished history of military service within in the Arkell’s family, the Wiltshire brewery is paying tribute to British forces by brewing, for the second time, Old Contemptible. It was last brewed in 2014 to mark the centenary of World War 1.
Arkell’s head brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “My Great Grandfather Noel Arkell, and Great Uncle Graham Arkell fought in WW1 and survived, although Noel returned wounded having been shot in the shoulder. Noel’s sons James and Peter fought in World War 2. James served with the Gurkha’s in Burma and Java, where he was killed in action at the devastatingly early age of 26. His brother, my grandfather Peter Arkell, served in the RAF, flying Lysanders into France under cover of darkness to retrieve secret agents by moonlight. He later transferred to Burma where he completed many landings behind Japanese lines. After a serious crash behind enemy lines he was finally invalided out of the RAF.”
The family has continued its military associations to the present day, with Alex’s brother John serving in Afghanistan.
The Old Contemptibles was the nickname given to the British expeditionary force in 1914, and later the troops in France and Flanders by Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, who reportedly issued an order to “Exterminate…the treacherous English and walk over… the contemptible little army”.
Alex explains the creation of his recipe. “The beer uses only English ingredients with a black colour, warm roasted and sweet tones coming from the chocolate malt, with a light hop aroma to compliment it. At 4% this is considered strong for a mild, but having looked through our records and done some research we noticed that before WW1 our mild was stronger.
But the Government wanted people to drink less so they could work in the munitions factories and they forced breweries to reduce the alcohol, hence mild is now known to be a weaker pint. However, our British forces are made of stronger stuff so we thought we would brew the original version.”
The Tavern Inn steams ahead with new landlords 06/10/2017
The Tavern Inn at Kemble is steaming ahead after business partners David Leith and Dan Keicher took over as landlords.
David Leith and Dan Keicher, with their new bar manager Stuart Baker (centre)
The pub, which temporarily closed in August to enable owners Arkell’s to secure the right tenants, is now open and experienced landlords David and Dan are making plans to welcome back customers, and capitalise on the increased footfall past the pub after a new 300-space car park opened behind the pub this summer.
Dan, who hails from Cheltenham, and David who comes from Cirencester, love the area – and plan to inject new life into this pretty village pub, including regular live music. They’ve got form in this area, having organised their first festival earlier this year. Beat-Fest at Pitville School, Cheltenham was a sell-out event and the duo are planning a second festival in 2018.
Dan is a talented singer and guitarist, part of successful band B E A T - O N E, which plays regular gigs around the region.
He said: “David and I met a few years’ ago at a pub in Cheltenham and soon realised that we had great complementary skills, David’s got lots of experience in the licensed trade and much of mine is in music and entertainment – so we decided to team up.”
The Tavern Inn is right next to Kemble station, which is used by over 180,000 people ever year, and has no permanent refreshment facility. The pub also has a large garden which Dan and David plan to clear and turn part into a vegetable garden to supply the pub next year.
“The Tavern Inn is unique in many ways,” says Dan. “It’s close to a busy rural railway station but sits on around an acre of land overlooking countryside, as such there’s the opportunity to host community events: from music to food and drink.”
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “Adaptability is key for pubs in the 21st century, but The Tavern has always adapted to the local need. It didn’t start off as a pub, but a coffee house which opened in the 1890s to compensate for the railway station’s lack of refreshment rooms. It didn’t become a pub until 1946, and Arkell’s Brewery bought it five years’ later.
“David and Dan have some great ideas for the pub to become a destination for those who like good honest food, great beer, music and atmosphere, and we’re looking forward to supporting them.”
Arkell’s turns pumpkins into BEER! 02/10/2017
Cinderella’s fairy godmother might have decided that the best use of a pumpkin was to turn it into a carriage fit for a princess, but Arkell’s Brewery has found a much better use for this season’s pumpkins: Beer!
The Wiltshire brewery has come up with its first Pumpkin Beer, brewed to help celebrate Halloween, which this year falls on Tuesday, 31 October.
Head Brewer, Alex Arkell, says: “Halloween doesn’t just have to be for the kids – why should the fun stop when you’re 18?
Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage aside, many consider Halloween as a pagan festival, and its origins can be traced back to the ancient festival of Samhain, more than 2000 years’ ago, when the Celtic year was determined by the growing seasons. On the festival of Samhain, Celtic druids would light fires to ward off evil spirits. More recently, pumpkins are scooped out and lit with candles.
Arkell’s prefer to celebrate the end of summer by using the pumpkin fruit to make beer rather than to ward off mischievous ‘spirits’.
“Pumpkin is sweet and we’ve spiced up our new brew with cinnamon and other spices to make a deliciously dark beer worthy of a time of year when we celebrate the end of summer and harvest, and the beginning of the long winter months,” said head brewer Alex.
Arkell’s Pumpkin Beer is brewed using real pumpkins prepared in the Brewhouse, with added spices and malt to produce a devilishly warming, malty beer. It will be available at most Arkell’s pubs in the run-up to Halloween.
New landlords have fun in The Sun 27/09/2017
New pub landlords are planning to have fun in The Sun after taking over behind the bar at one of Swindon’s landmark pubs, located at Coate Water, Swindon.
James and Theresa Bell
James and Theresa Bell want to create a social hub at the pub, especially for Badbury Park, where close to 1000 new homes have been built, creating a whole new community for South Swindon – located almost next door to the pub.
“The Sun is a traditional Swindon pub which has served the residents of Coate Water, Dorcan, Walcot and Marlborough Road for years. Now we’re welcoming Badbury Park into our community, there’s definitely room for everyone, and we’re right in the middle,” says Theresa.
Experienced chef James has enjoyed a successful career, including working as executive chef at Nationwide Building Society in Swindon and also at the Defence Academy, Shrivenham. Theresa’s career is in facilities management. This is the couple’s first pub, and along with their own ideas for activities and events at the pub, they’re also welcoming ideas from their customers.
“James and I have spent years in the hospitality industry and we love the feeling of being in a friendly community. We’ve also lived in and around Swindon for many years, our family and friends are all here – so the pub has to be a place where we’d like to be, and that makes it more comfortable for our customers too.”
From Wednesday jazz nights, to Sunday night guest chefs and a weekly ‘gin journey’, the couple are already starting to make their mark on the pub, but The Sun is big enough for a quiet drink away from the crowds too, they say.
“The Sun at Coate Water is a landmark town pub, because of where it is and the colour and size of the building – it’s pretty impressive,” says Theresa. “We’ve commuted past it for years, and I can’t quite believe that it’s now ours to develop and run.”
“Most of all we want to give those living in this area a place they can call their own.”
It’s official - We are the Champions! 15/09/2017
Arkell’s Kingsdown Beer has been named champion beer for the SECOND year in a row in the 2017 Taste of the West Awards, announced at a special ceremony held in the Great Hall at Exeter University on Thursday 14 September.
But that’s not all! EVERY Arkell’s beer submitted into this highly thought of Awards programme won an award. Arkell’s Moonlight, Hoperation and Desi Biyar won GOLDs, with Bee’s Organic and Wiltshire Gold winning Silvers.
“We were absolutely stunned at the result,” said Alex Arkell, Arkell’s Head Brewer, who was at the ceremony. “Especially since, with the growth of craft beer and more breweries entering hundreds of beers, we were up against stiff competition. To win Champion Beer once is more than fantastic. To win it twice in two years, and to have every one of our beers as award-winners, is the most massive achievement for everyone in the brewery.”
The Awards, now in their 24th year, celebrate the best food and drink across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire and are a benchmark for excellence across the region.
Kingsdown came into existence in the 1960s and Arkells has brewed it regularly ever since, using the original recipe.
The ceremony was attended by over 400 people, with representatives from award winning producers, hospitality establishments, retailers, top chefs, food writers and others involved with and supporting the industry. With a lunch menu using Taste of the West Award-winning products from across the region, the event was a celebration of the quality of food and drink in the South West and the passion of those who produce, serve or sell it.
Alex added: “It proves that the investment we’ve made in the brewery, the brewhouse and in supporting our landlords in looking after all our beers is worthwhile. As we come up to our 175th anniversary of the brewery in 2018, we’re still producing beer that Swindon and Wiltshire can be proud of.”
Editors notes (or the pint-sized story of Arkell’s Brewery)
At over 170 years’ old, Arkell’s Brewery is one of the few traditional family breweries left in the UK.
The brewery was established as an offshoot to the family farm near Swindon when Brunel was building his Great Western Railway. Arkell’s beers quenched the thirst of workers in the hot locomotive works.
Swindon’s historic railway works closed in the 1980s, but Arkell’s Brewery is thriving.
The Arkell’s work at the brewery alongside generations of local families, brewing real ale and looking after over 100 pubs across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire.
Arkell’s ales include Award-winning beers such as Wiltshire Gold, 3Bs, Kingsdown and Bees Organic. The brewery also brews an award-winning Czech style lager: 1843. Special ales are brewed regularly, and head brewer, Alex Arkell, keeps the art of craft ale alive, offering drinkers new tastes and flavours.
There’s nothing better than a pint of beer, brewed by a craft brewer with love using well-sourced ingredients, in a warm and welcoming pub.
PR contact: Nicky Godding, Nicky Godding Communications, Glebe Farm House, The Street, Daglingworth, Cirencester, Glos GL7 7AE. Tel/Fax: 01285 653006. email
By George, Kempsford pub welcomes new faces 17/08/2017
Working in pubs runs in the blood for Paul and Ruth May, who’ve taken over behind the bar at the pretty village pub The George at Kempsford, near Fairford.
Ruth and Paul with their daughter Evie
Both of them have spent all their professional lives working in the business, but this is their first pub tenancy together for trained chef Paul, 36, and his wife Ruth, 27.
They first met in Ruth’s parents’ pub, The Brewer’s Arms at Wanborough, where both of them worked. Now they’ve moved into The George, another Arkell’s-owned pub, with their two-year old daughter Evie and friendly family dog, Betty.
“We heard The George might be available from my dad, who’s a member of Kempsford Car Club and comes here regularly,” said Paul. “We’d been looking to run a pub of our own for a couple of years and it’s great: In the middle of a pretty village, with a good bar trade, cosy restaurant and plenty of space inside and out for locals and visitors alike.
“Most importantly, this is our family home, and there’s plenty of space for us too.”
Within a few days the couple also realised they’d unwittingly taken on an extra member of the family, and another mouth to feed. “There’s a friendly stray tabby cat who lives in the garden, and the locals tell us has been here for years. Scrappy is our most regular customer – eating four meals a day, always al fresco, but we’ve yet to see the colour of his money!”
Paul trained as a chef nearly 20 years’ ago at The South Marston Hotel near Swindon. He widened his experience as an agency chef before being recruited to work at The Brewer’s Arms, where he stayed for over a decade.
“Now it’s time for us to run our own pub, and The George’s customers gave us a hearty welcome when we arrived. We’re looking forward to settling down and enjoying village life,” said Ruth.
Stratton Festival Ale! 28/07/2017
For five years Arkell’s Brewery has brewed the special Stratton Festival Ale, which is only available in July to coincide with the Stratton Festival and Stratton Stroll.
This year Arkell's also sponsored the Main Stage at the Stratton Festival.
Alex Arkell said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be involved in the Stratton Festival and Stroll this year. The reason John Arkell brewed beer here in the first place 174 years ago was to bring together the local community to enjoy the social spaces and events over a delicious beer.
“We look forward to carrying on this tradition.”
The parish council works closely with local pubs across the parish to bring the community together each year for the Stratton Stroll music festival.
The free music festival kicks off from midday at The Kingsdown, The Crown from 1pm, The New Inn from 2pm, Grange Bar from 3pm, The Wheatsheaf from 4pm, finishing at The Rat Trap from 7pm until late.
Grange Bar will feature live music later than in previous years through to 10pm.
Throughout the day the Parish Council will be collecting donations from strollers for the Alzheimer’s Society, the chairman’s chosen charity for 2017.
30 years on the open road 11/07/2017
The finale to a successful 30-year career as an Arkell’s drayman was celebrated last week when Ron Fisher, 69, retired from the brewery after three decades behind the wheels of an Arkell’s beer lorry.
Ron and Mary celebrate with the Arkell's family
His family, friends and colleagues celebrated his career at a special party held at Arkell’s Brewery, also attended by brewery directors Nick, George and Alex Arkell.
Ron started his career working on a farm, then qualified and worked as an articulated lorry driver before joining Arkell’s Brewery in 1987. “The best bit about being an Arkell’s drayman is, once you’re out on the open road, you are your own boss, and you can just get the job done,” he said.
That sounds easier than it is, as Arkell’s lorries have to brave wind, rain and snow to deliver beer in the winter months.
But Ron won’t be giving up the open road altogether. He’ll still be helping out on a few shifts when the brewery is busy.
Brewery director Nick Arkell said: “The year you joined was the same year that Rick Astley was singing ‘Never gonna give you up’, and that’s just how we feel about you. So here’s to a happy retirement, and we’ll see you as usual next week.”
However, when Ron’s not working, he still plans to be behind a wheel, this time with wife Mary, touring in their caravan.
PR contact: Nicky Godding, Nicky Godding Communications, Glebe Farm House, The Street, Daglingworth, Cirencester, Glos
Arkell’s content with a Triple Bogey 07/07/2017
It’s the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale this month. And we’re hoping to score a hole in one with our new beer. But after a few pints, we’ll be happy with a triple bogey.
So we’ve brewed a triple hopped IPA using a good dose of American hops to create a fruity moreish beer.
Beer and golf go together like…. Well, like beer and golf. After a hard day on the fairway, there’s nothing more satisfying than a glass of best bitter to replenish the equilibrium.
Cleopatra – we’ve got a bone to pick with you 07/07/2017
Beer was enjoyed so regularly among the Egyptians that Queen Cleopatra VII lost popularity toward the end of her reign more for implementing a tax on beer (the first ever) than for her wars with Rome which the beer tax went to help pay for (although she claimed the tax was to deter public drunkeness).
As beer was often prescribed for medicinal purposes (there were over 100 remedies using beer) the tax was considered unjust.
Arkell’s celebrates World Beer Day 07/07/2017
With International Beer Day less than a month away, on 4 August, Arkell’s head brewer Alex Arkell puts forward the case for why British Beers are best.
International Beer Day is a global celebration of beer. Now in its ninth year, it’s a day for beer lovers everywhere to raise a toast to brewers and landlords and rejoice in the greatness of beer.
Alex says that the UK is one of the few countries that drink a large volume of cask beer. This is unfiltered beer in its pure form. “It’s full of delicious complex flavours, straight from the natural raw ingredients, that you just can’t achieve through other beer types.
“Cask beer perfectly sums up what I love about all British beer. In the UK, we tend to love well balanced, moreish, session beers over extreme flavours (although occasionally these can be a real treat when brewed well).”
But Alex admits that he loves tasting beers from across the globe. “I can’t think of a better way to bring the world together than by celebrating beers from all nations and cultures on one remarkable day.”
“The huge spectrum of flavours that come from different interpretations of beer styles makes drinking beers around the world a treat for the senses,” he said.
“I’ve been all over the world, from Asia to America sampling beers and found beers I’ve loved everywhere.”
Although proudly British, Arkell’s has international beer connections across the world.
Arkell’s Brewery founder, John Arkell (who founded the Wiltshire brewery in 1843) had over 10 children. Two ran the family business in Kingsdown, Swindon and another two of his other sons went to New Zealand to set up breweries of their own.
In fact, his son John set up three different breweries there.
“We have a collection of letters between the brothers swapping brewing knowledge and sharing recipe ideas. Our foundations really are international,” says Alex.
For more information on International Brewing Day www.internationaldeerday.com
26 years at The Crown, and they’re not done yet 07/07/2017
Celebration is afoot, as one of Cirencester’s longest serving pub landlords celebrates 26 years and raises a glass to many more to come.
Bill and Gail Daley arrived in July of 1991 as managers of The Crown, later becoming leaseholders of the large establishment on West Market Place.
Their 26th anniversary year brings further celebration, as in April Arkell’s Brewery purchased the freehold of the pub. The Wiltshire brewery has no plans to change the pub’s winning formula. “We couldn’t be happier that a local brewery bought the pub from Enterprise Inns. It means that there are now two family-run businesses involved in The Crown, and both the Arkell’s and us really care about the business and the local community,” said Bill.
Bill and Gail arrived in England from Australia in the early 1980s whilst pursuing their dream of travelling. The couple became involved in the licence trade and eventually landed the role to launch and run a newly built pub on London’s Lower Belgrave Street called The Victoria.
An invitation to oversee the British pub at the 1988 World Expo in Brisbane proved too good to turn down and the couple, along with their young family, headed back to Australia for a couple of years. In 1991 an opportunity arose to return to the UK and manage either The Crown then operating as the ‘Slug and Lettuce’ in Cirencester or the one in Islington, London.
Cirencester won hands down. “Bill visited the Cirencester pub, and wandered into the Abbey Grounds,” said Gail. “It was the perfect place to bring up our family.”
In 1991 the pub was frequented largely by students from the Royal Agricultural College (now a university), but it was struggling financially. It didn’t take long for experienced landlords Bill and Gail to boost business and widen the pub’s welcome to tourists, business people and families.
Arkell’s Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “Cirencester is a thriving town which has just undergone significant investment in revitalising its Market Square to make it even more appealing to locals and visitors alike. We are really enjoying working with the Daley family. They are true industry professionals who not only established their pub at the heart of the Cirencester community but consistently maintain its position at the heart of the town.”
The Duke of Edinburgh. Swindon’s most family friendly pub? 25/06/2017
Lots of pubs call themselves ‘family friendly’, but there’s one pub in Swindon which really is. The Duke of Edinburgh at Gorse Hill has been run by Mark and Allyson Thomson for six years. Now they’ve got four generations of family living at the pub, with three of them working there.
Thanks to the Swindon Advertiser for taking this amazing photograph of the family.
Mark’s son Nathan is cellar manager and works behind the bar, his fiancé Tyffani also works in the bar. Allyson’s mum Jan Sparrow and her husband Derek are the cleaners, with Jan managing the pub’s bedroom accommodation and Derek taking charge of the bar areas.
And now Nathan and Tyffani have welcomed baby Ivy, born on June 17.
Everyone lives at the pub, and Mark wouldn’t have it any other way. “We love having our family around us, and it’s wonderful to welcome little Ivy. As soon as she’s old enough I’m sure she’ll be part of our team too.”
But it’s not just family who enjoy working with Mark and Allyson, the couple have two more staff members, and they’re both long-serving in an industry which is well-known for its turnover of staff: Angie Botting has worked for Mark for 13 years. First in his previous job as manager at a Swindon Club, then moving with him and Allyson to The Duke when they took over. Tina Eaton joined the pub five years ago.
Mark added: “We consider them part of our family. In all the years’ she’s worked with me, Angie’s never had a day off sick, and Tina has always been on call to help out whenever needed.”
Arkell’s looks forward to Wimbledon with Strawberries ‘n’ Cream beer 21/06/2017
The sun is out, Wimbledon starts on July 3rd, and the team at Arkell’s have aced it by brewing their first Wimbledon-inspired summer ale.
Alex Arkell adds a hint of strawberry!
Strawberries ‘n’ Cream is a golden-coloured ale brewed with barley, oats and wheat; topped up with hops from around the world, all selected for their summer fruity aromas, and finally a hint of strawberry to round this complex beer off as a refreshing summer pint.
Head brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “We regularly brew beers to celebrate the football, and for the rugby Six Nations. But there are few other events that really celebrate an English Summer than Wimbledon, the oldest tennis tournament in the world.”
He added: “Wimbledon isn’t quite as old as Arkell’s, it’s only been in existence for 140 years, compared to our brewery which is the ripe age 174, but we do accept it's still a bit better known around the world than we are.”
Exmouth Arms customers push Sue Ryder Hospice fundraising to £1400 20/06/2017
Cheltenham pub The Exmouth Arms, on the Bath Road, has raised a massive £1400 for Sue Ryder Hospice in Cheltenham.
The money was raised over a June weekend when the popular pub hosted its annual ‘Ex-fest’.
Local bands, a dog show in association with Vets on the Park and a science party for children drew in the crowds who dined on pizzas from the pub's outside wood-fired oven and enjoyed special ales and ciders invited in for the weekend.
Exmouth Arms Manager Steve Hine was delighted with local support for the event.
“This is our ninth ExFest and we all work really hard on making it a fun event for everyone who comes to support it. The Sue Ryder Hospice at Leckhampton is quite close to the pub, and it’s a charity which is hugely respected for the incredible work it does, so we wanted to do our bit within our community. We know the charity as a whole needs over £40 million a year to keep its services running and we are very happy that with the support of our customers and staff, we have been able to make our donation.”
Extra special exfest raising money for local hospice 21/05/2017
Cheltenham pub, The Exmouth Arms on the Bath Road, is to host its annual ex-fest from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th June and it promises to be bigger and better than ever. As well as an array of local bands for music lovers, there will be plenty of activities for younger members of the family, and even for our furry friends, with proceeds from the event going to Sue Ryder Leckhampton hospice.
The exfest starts on Friday evening from 6pm with live music from local folk musician (and Exmouth bar man) Joe Summers and then follows on Saturday 3rd from 1pm with a host of bands throughout the afternoon and in to the evening, including Velvet Love & the Memphis One, Unhooked and The Bridge, to name but a few.
Sunday 4th June will be a real family affair with a Science Party with Fizz Pop Science from 1-3pm. There will be gooey slime making, marble runs and paper helicopters, plus much more. Later at 3pm the ever-popular Dog Show returns with support from local Vets; Vets on the Park. Enter in for Waggiest Tail or Best Young Trainer to name a couple of the categories.
The outside wood-fired pizza oven will be fired up throughout the weekend for delicious freshly made pizza and there will be an outside Ale and Cider festival.
This year the team have decided to raise money for local hospice, Sue Ryder Leckhampton. Manager Steve Hine says, “The team are really looking forward to this year’s exfest and are delighted to be able to raise funds for such a worthwhile local charity. Now we’re all praying for the sunshine to go with what will be a fantastic weekend of fun.”
Lansdowne Strand in top 10% of hotels and restaurants nationwide 08/05/2017
The Lansdowne Strand Hotel, Calne, Wiltshire is now officially in the top 10% of hotels and restaurants nationwide after being awarded two AA Rosettes for the quality of its food and restaurant service
George Arkell celebrates Two AA Rosette with Anna and Joel Lear
The hotel which recently underwent a major refurbishment, is run by talented chef Joel Lear (previously head chef at the celebrated King William pub in Bath) and his wife Anna. The talented team have created menus to suit casual pub diners and those who want a more memorable experience.
Joel sources many of his ingredients from a 20-mile radius of the hotel, and all the dishes are made from scratch on the premises.
“We support local producers, especially as there are some truly fantastic Wiltshire butchers, bakeries and farms which deserve wider recognition,” he said.
The long-established Rosette scheme celebrates successful cooking at different levels across the UK. Success or failure in achieving Rosettes is based on one or more visits by an AA inspector to a hotel or restaurant. Essentially the visit is a snapshot, whereby the entire meal, including ancillary items (when served), is assessed. AA Rosettes are solely awarded by AA hotel and restaurant Inspectors, and external influences from hotels, restaurants or other guides are not taken into account.
Arkell’s Brewery and Eastbrook Farm reveal pub extension 30/04/2017
One of North Wiltshire’s most successful village pubs, The Royal Oak at Bishopstone, near Swindon, will reveal 12 brand new bedrooms after significant investment by pub owners, Arkell’s Brewery, and long-standing Royal Oak landlord Helen Browning OBE, the well-known organic farmer and chief executive of the Soil Association.
The new bedrooms, separate to the Royal Oak pub, have been designed with strong eco-friendly credentials. The Wiltshire family brewery has also extended the kitchen and bar at The Royal Oak and improved the car park and grounds.
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “It’s been a long time in the planning but we’re delighted to be backing Helen Browning and Tim Finney. They’re long-standing tenants who have invested a huge amount of their own time and money building the trade over the last ten years or so. They’ve successfully created a destination pub in a really gorgeous part of Wiltshire, so it’s been a joint effort between the brewery and Eastbrook Farm to give the village and surrounding area a pub we hope they’ll be proud of.”
The Royal Oak’s uniqueness comes from its menu and ethos, drawn from Helen’s commitment to organic farming and her leadership of The Soil Association. The pub serves organic food, much of it drawn from next door Eastbrook Farm and the menus are seasonal. “Helen and Tim have a truly fantastic team who not only have an established track record, but continue to come up with exciting and creative ideas for the future. The new rooms offer The Royal Oak a valuable new income stream which will help make the pub sustainable for the long term,” added George.
Arkell’s and Halls use their loaf 30/04/2017
Arkell’s Brewery has teamed up with Stroud family baker, Hall’s Bakery to brew a special bread beer, Loaf of Beer.
Alex Arkell with Charlie Hall of Hall's Bakery
Arkell’s Brewery has teamed up with Stroud family baker, Hall’s Bakery to brew a special bread beer, Loaf of Beer.
The ingredients which go into making bread and beer are very similar so Arkell’s head brewer Alex Arkell decided to see what would happen if he combined beer and bread to make a brand-new brew.
“Hall’s Bakery provided us with some of their delicious fresh bread which we chopped up and added to our mash tun alongside a healthy dose of malted barley and some oats for added flavour,” explains Alex.
At 3.8% ABV the resulting ‘Loaf of Beer’ has a distinct, bready sweetness – warm, fresh and perfect for early summer drinking.
“It’s wonderful to be able to work with another family business, especially one that’s relatively close,” adds Alex. “Hall’s Bakery has been baking bread for over 100 years. We’ve been brewing beer for 170 years. Both families understand the passion and precision that goes into making two of the most satisfying things ever to pass the lips.
Tim Hall of Hall’s Brewery said: “Our Fifth Generation Family Run Bakery prides itself on Quality , Passion and an Understanding of the needs of all our customers and are proud to work alongside The Arkells Brewery in helping with this wonderful new Beer.”
Crowning glory for Arkell’s Brewery 19/04/2017
Arkell’s Brewery is delighted to have purchased The Crown Inn, Cirencester from Enterprise Inns.
The Crown is a very successful town pub which has been run by Bill and Gail Daley for nearly three decades. This is a significant investment in the town by a local family brewery and there are no plans to change the pub’s winning formula. Arkell’s is delighted that Mr and Mrs Daley will continue to hold the lease and run the pub.
Arkell’s has four more pubs in Cirencester, The Talbot on Victoria Road, The Golden Cross on Black Jack Street, The Bee’s Knee’s on Watermoor Road and the Brewers Arms on Cricklade Street.
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “Cirencester is a thriving town which has just undergone significant investment in revitalising its Market Square to make it even more appealing to locals and visitors alike. We are looking forward to working with the Daley family. They are true industry professionals who not only established their pub at the heart of the Cirencester community but consistently maintain its position at the heart of the town.”
It’s a full house for Arkell’s & Cask Marque 10/04/2017
We're celebrating achieving 100% Cask Marque accreditation for all our pubs across Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Hampshire.
Alex Arkell celebrates with top landlord Paul Fallows at the Mason's Arms, Meysey Hampton
Since 1997 Cask Marque has been ensuring that cask ale in pubs is served in perfect condition. Each year its 45 qualified assessors make over 20,000 visits to pubs in England, Scotland, Wales, Europe and even the U.S to check the temperature, appearance, aroma and taste of Britain’s favourite drink.
The Cask Marque scheme is operated by the Cask Marque Trust. Pubs that join the scheme are visited unannounced by an independent assessor at least twice a year. In the first year, they are visited twice in the first three months and in subsequent years they are visited once in the summer and once in the winter.
The assessor checks all cask ales on sale for temperature, appearance, aroma and taste.
Roger Clayson, National Account Manager at Cask Marque, said: “For the pub to pass, all the beers must reach the required standard and it then receives a plaque, framed certificate and merchandising material to inform its customers of the award and their rights. This is a great achievement by Arkell’s and each of its individual landlords and sets the standard for the pub estates of other breweries.”
One Arkell’s pub was so good that Tim O’Rourke, Cask Marque assessor for Gloucestershire thinks it sets the standard for the whole country.
The Mason’s Arms at Meysey Hampton, near Cirencester particularly impressed him.
“It is always a pleasure to come across a ‘Top League’ pub and pub manager who took real pride in not just the quality of the beers available, but the entire customer experience”, said Tim. “The beers at The Masons Arms at Meysey Hampton are well kept and carefully presented.
“They represent an excellent example of what the trade needs to aspire to, achieve and maintain to face a challenging future with confidence.”
Arkell’s has made a significant investment in cellar management training over the last three years, and it’s paid off. Head brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “This is a team effort between us at the brewery, our landlords to make sure that every pint they serve to customers is top quality and the Cask Marque team to give our landlords the final seal of approval. We’re thrilled that we’re leading the way.”
10000 pubs in the UK have the Cask Marque plaque for the quality of their beer and the plaque is recognised by 56% of Cask Ale drinkers. Cask Marque pubs can be easily found using their free the Caskfinder App.
25000 consumers have joined the World’s Biggest Ale Trail. Find further details by visiting the Cask Marque website on www.cask-marque co.uk
Great British Sunday Lunch 31/03/2017
Arkell's has teamed up with the RAF Benevolent Fund to support its national fundraising campaign – the Great British Sunday Lunch.
Group Captain Mike Neville visited Arkell's Angel Hotel, Wootton Bassett to meet landlord Duncan Neville (no relation!)
Taking place across the UK and around the world on Sunday 2 April, the Great British Sunday Lunch calls on people up and down the country to gather together over the nation’s much cherished Sunday lunch to raise funds for the charity, while celebrating the RAF.
Arkell’s will be hosting special lunches in their pubs across the region on the day, giving diners the chance to make small donations that will make a huge difference to the RAF family.
To celebrate the partnership, Group Captain Mike Neville, Director of Strategy and Fundraising at the RAF Benevolent Fund, paid a visit to the Arkell’s owned Angel Hotel in Royal Wooten Bassett to say thanks for their support to landlord, Duncan Neville (no relation).
“The RAF Benevolent Fund welcomes Arkell’s support of our Great British Sunday Lunch fundraiser,” Mike said. “We’re truly grateful that such a well-respected, family business, in an area steeped in military history, will be helping to raise money that will go a long way to supporting members of the RAF family in their time of need.”
Arkell’s Managing Director George Arkell said:
“We are delighted to be able to support the RAF Benevolent Fund’s Great British Sunday Lunch, an event as traditional as a pint of real ale. Sunday lunch is one of the busiest times of the week in most of our pubs and we hope our landlords and diners will feel able to contribute to a very worthwhile cause.
Tasty refurbishment for historic Calne hotel 07/03/2017
A £1/4 million refurbishment of an iconic hotel, the Grade 2 listed 26-bedroom Lansdowne Strand in the historic Wiltshire town of Calne has been revealed after Arkell's and landlords Anna and Joel Lear welcomed in visitors to enjoy its contemporary new interiors and taste from celebrated chef Joel’s new menu.
Wiltshire brewery Arkell’s bought the Lansdowne Hotel in 2007, and faced significant hurdles in bringing the run-down building back up to a high standard. The main hotel dates from the late 17th century, but the old brewery at the back of the hotel dates back to the 12th century, so every investment made had to be carefully planned.
The result is a stunning refurbishment of a beautiful and historic hotel, built on the main London to Bristol road (now the A4). First named the Catherine Wheel, in the 1820s it was renamed the Lansdowne Strand in honour of the Third Marquis of Lansdowne, who lived at Bowood, just three miles down the road. A wise choice by its owners, as the Marquis was Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time.
Back in the 21st century, talented chef Joel Lear (previously head chef at the celebrated King William pub in Bath) has created menus to suit both casual pub diners and those who want a more memorable experience.
Joel sources many of his ingredients from a 20 miles radius of the hotel, and all the dishes are made from scratch on the premises. “We support local producers, especially as there are some truly fantastic Wiltshire butchers, bakeries and farms which deserve wider recognition,” he said.
The menu ranges from exciting new dishes to well-known favourites. They include chargrilled bacon chop with fat chips, crispy poached egg, pineapple and caper vinaigrette; a Wiltshire cure board, including raised pork pie, pork belly rillettes and piccalilli, and roast breast of guinea fowl with Jerusalem artichokes, wild mushrooms and beer sauce.
Anna and Joel are also keen to work with local historians to celebrate Calne’s unique food heritage. For over 200 years the town was the UK centre of pork curing. At its peak, the Harris Pork processing factory, which closed in 1983, employed over 2000 townspeople out of a population of 10,000. The Harris family are famous for introducing the ‘sweet cure process’, which became known as ‘The Wiltshire Cure’.
Joel explains: “The Wiltshire Cure was pioneered by the Harris family. Developed over the years, it’s now a wet cure, where the meat soaks in brine for 4-5 days. Smoking is not part of the process, although the bacon can be smoked after being cured. It’s a delicate and unique taste which we plan to include in our menus, supporting the town in celebration of its heritage.”
Arkell’s Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “We’ve taken much pleasure in sensitively refurbishing the Lansdowne Strand Hotel to a very high standard of interiors alongside experienced landlords Anna and Joel. In turn they have created menus and service to match. We hope that the hotel will do justice to the growing town of Calne and I’m particularly looking forward to tasting the town’s unique Wiltshire Cure bacon.”
New era kicks in for The Bull Hotel, Fairford 06/03/2017
The exciting upgrade and refurbishment of the historic Bull Hotel, Fairford by owners Arkell’s Brewery is almost complete.
What's changed? Not much outside... but wait until the opening and the amazing new interiors are revealed....
The Bull Hotel will reopen at the end of March after six months’ hard work on all the bars, kitchen and rooms.
The Bull, a 15th Century bespoke 21-bedroom hotel in Fairford, also has new a landlord. Sebastian Snow and his team (who already enjoy great success running two other Cotswold pubs, The Five Alls at Filkins and The Plough at Kelsmcott) are ready to breathe new life into this lovely market town hotel.
Brewery chairman, James Arkell, said: “The brewery’s investment in a substantial upgrade of the town’s most prominent building in Fairford market place will add real value to one of the Cotswold’s prettiest towns; with a mile and a half of chalk stream fishing; and the famous St Mary’s Church windows.”
The Bull Hotel has stunning new interiors created by a talented team of designers, including an 80-seater private dining room in the hotel’s original stable block at the back of the building which now has stunning art across its ceiling, and a pretty rear garden courtyard. The Bull is still an authentic country hotel, set right in the heart of a beautiful Cotswold country town. The bespoke rooms will gradually be opening over the next month or so.
Arkell’s Brewery chairman, James Arkell, said: “The Arkell’s family has lived in and around Fairford for generations, so the town has a particularly special place in our hearts. It’s brilliant to bring The Bull Hotel right up to the 21st century.”
Two new sets of hands in The Carpenter’s Arms 01/03/2017
The Carpenter’s Arms at South Marston has not one but two new sets of hands behind the bar. Claire Rouse and Clare Shoesmith took over the Arkell’s pub this week and while both have lots of experience in the trade, it’s the first time they’ve worked together.
Claire Shoesmith and Clare Rouse
But they’ve got a highly experienced landlord watching their backs, the pub is being overseen by Ross Morgan, who already runs two more Arkell’s pubs: The Crown Inn and The New Inn, both at Stratton, Swindon.
Clare Shoesmith has worked for Ross at The Crown, Stratton for five years, starting in the kitchen and rising to duty manager. Claire Rouse has moved from her previous career as an apprenticeship training assessor, but she’s worked in pubs before that.
Claire Rouse said: “The boot’s on the other foot now. After years of assessing others, I feel like I’m the apprentice, but I’m learning a lot and really enjoy the work.”
Claire Shoesmith added: “This is a such a great opportunity for us to work together and run this family-friendly country pub, and we’ve had some great feedback already from the locals, who’ve been really supportive.”
The Carpenter’s Arms is just off the A420 main road between Swindon and Oxford, on the edge of South Marston village. It has nine bedrooms built around a pretty courtyard behind the pub, which gets busy with guests, particularly in the spring and summer.
“This is our opportunity to really make our mark on the pub,” added Claire Shoesmith. “It’s a perfect family destination, with a big car park, plenty of space and a garden, just 5 minutes from Swindon. It’s the next step on my pub management career and with Clare’s training experience, we can’t go wrong.”
Arkell’s is Hare for the Beer 27/02/2017
Well ahead of the launch of the 1st Cotswold Hare Trail on March 25, Arkell’s Brewery has revealed its very first hare. It will be one of 80 five foot hares displayed across the Cotswolds from March to September.
Sarah Bromley & George Arkell with the Arkell's Hare
The hare will sit loud and proud outside the Arkell’s-owned Bull Hotel, Fairford, currently undergoing major refurbishment, but which reopens in March.
Designed and painted by Arkell’s resident sign writer Sarah Bromley, 27, the hare has a tweed waistcoat and pays tribute to the brewery’s heritage, which is bound up in the history of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s railway works at Swindon.
Sarah said: “I’ve really enjoyed researching our history before starting the project, it’s certainly different from my day-job of hand-painting all Arkell’s Brewery’s pub signs. I wanted to celebrate the brewery’s beginnings way back in the mid 19th century, and then bring it up to date by highlighting key dates over the last 170 years.”
Railway tracks are painted around the hare, with key dates noted: From 1840 when the first tracks were laid in Swindon; 1843 when the railway works opened and Arkell’s Brewery began brewing beer at Kingsdown to quench the thirst of railway workers toiling in the engine sheds, to the 1960s when the final steam locomotives were built in Swindon.
But it’s not all about the railways; it’s about the beers too. The Arkell’s hare celebrates the brewery’s craft beer. Down the hare’s waistcoat Sarah has painted buttons of hops, a key ingredient in beer, a 3Bs tie (in celebration of one of Arkell’s regular beers) and a barrel of beer in front of him to make sure he never goes thirsty.
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, who lives close to Fairford, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be supporting this year’s hare festival which started by bringing colour and interest to Cirencester, and which we are now proud to be taking further afield to Fairford as part of the Cotswold Trail.
Festival Director, Florence Beetlestone expressed her delight at the Arkell’s involvement. “Arkells is synonomous with the Cotswolds so their support is very fitting”
For more information about the Trail www.cirencestermarchharefestival.org.uk.
Souffle from The Mason's Arms 23/01/2017
6 yolks 7 whites
225g grated cheese1tsp mustard powder
Oven to 180c
coat moulds with butter and breadcrumbs
Make a béchamel with the butter flour and milk.
Add cheese and yolks, beat whites fold together with cheese béchamel.
Cook in a Bain Marie for 21 mins at 180c
The plane truth behind Arkell’s latest beer 20/01/2017
Arkell’s Brewery kicked off 2017 by launching its latest beer, Mustang Black: a gloriously dark stout with layers of delicious flavours to warm up the coldest fingers and toes
It is named after the wartime experiences of the head brewer’s grandfather, Peter Arkell, who flew Hurricanes, Lysanders and Mustangs during the Second World War. It continues the brewery’s tribute to Peter and his time in the RAF by naming beers after his achievements. Moonlight, launched in 2003, celebrated Peter Arkell’s missions flying low level sorties in Lysanders over France in 1943. Hurricane, launched in 2014, uses Pilot hops in the recipe.
Although the Mustangs were designed and built in America as long-range, single-seat fighter-bombers, they were initially developed for the RAF, which used them for tactical reconnaissance and ground-attack duties. The last RAF Mustangs were retired in 1947.
Arkell’s head brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “Part of my pleasure in brewing new beers is being able to create the recipe around a true story. Moonlight, Hurricane and now Mustang Black celebrate true heroism, not only by my grandfather Peter, but of all the brave pilots who played such a major part in World War Two.
“Mustang Black is a blend of six different malt varieties to create a smooth and creamy taste and it was a pleasure to come up with a rich, dark stout which I can imagine my grandfather and his colleagues might tuck into after returning safely after daring missions over Europe.”
Mustang Black (ABV 4.8%) will now be available as a keg stout beer at all Arkell’s participating pubs.
National popcorn day! 18/01/2017
It was National Popcorn Day on Thursday 19th January. Nothing to do with beer, Arkell's just like the fact that there’s a National Popcorn Day so the Swindon brewery invited children from Orchard Vale Primary School (and a couple of older students from Braydon Forest School) to celebrate at The Tawny Owl pub in Swindon.
Children from Orchard Vale Primary School, Swindon (and two from Braydon Forest School!), celebrate National Popcorn Day!!
The celebration was all quite orderly, until we invited the children to cheer! The attached photographs tell the story.
While popcorn doesn’t go quite as well with beer as a packet of crisps, like pretty much everything else in life, add beer to a recipe for popcorn and you’ll get something pretty delicious.
Popcorn was, according to www.popcorn.org, discovered in the Americas thousands of years ago. Naturally low in fat and calories and gluten-free, it fits perfectly with today’s trends.
Here’s a brilliant recipe for beer popcorn, adapted from the home of popcorn: The United States, and their Brewer’s Association.
½ cup un-popped popcorn
½ cup cooking oil
1-2 cups chopped pecan nuts
½ cup pretzels
I bottle Arkell’s Wiltshire Gold
3 tbl unsalted butter
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup whipping cream
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 250°F
In a large pot, heat up oil and add popcorn. Cover (to avoid redecorating your kitchen), but keep pan moving to pop the corn.
Remove from heat, discard un-popped kernels and place in a large baking pan, with the pecans and pretzels and keep warm in oven
In a saucepan, melt the Wiltshire Gold and butter and allow it to reduce by ¼. Add sugar and boil for 10 minutes, until it becomes really syrupy. Stir in cream and cook for around five minutes till the caramel is thick.
Remove from heat and add the salt, vanilla and baking soda. The caramel will foam up.
Pour over the popcorn, mix until everything is well coated.
Return to the oven for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and spread mixture over parchment paper to cool.
Alex is back behind the bar 05/01/2017
It’s been six years since the Arkell’s head brewer was pulling pints behind the bar, but 2017 sees a return to his roots when, on Wednesday 25 January from 7-9pm for one night only, Alex Arkell will be behind the bar at The Plough, Old Town Swindon.
The Plough, Old Town Swindon
Before he trained in brewing, Alex spent two years running The Rusty Bicycle pub in Oxford, so he can pull a mean pint of beer. During his ‘Brewer on the bar’ visit to The Plough Alex will be able to chat with customers about what they like best in a pint of beer. And he plans to make regular ‘Brewer on the bar’ trips to Arkell’s pubs throughout the year.
“It’s my favourite sort of market research,” says Alex. “All of us at Arkell’s visit our pubs every week, but it’s usually a pretty social, off-duty, affair. ‘Brewer on the bar’ gives me a golden opportunity to spend more time with customers chatting about my absolutely all-time favourite topic: beer. I want to find out what flavours they enjoy most, and share new brew ideas too, as well as enjoying a pint or two of perfectly-kept beer at The Plough, Old Town.”
‘Brewer on the bar’ will kick off at 7pm at The Plough, Old Town and all beer drinkers are welcome to attend. Future ‘Brewer on the bar’ dates will be announced on the Arkell’s website and across Arkell’s social media.
Arkell’s Brewery celebrates buying iconic Swindon bar 04/01/2017
We are delighted to announce that Arkell's has acquired in central Swindon Rudi’s Bar & Kitchen at Regents Circus, following the retirement of its current owners, Paul and Lyn Notton.
Brewery chairman, James Arkell, said: “Rudi’s has been run very successfully by Paul and Lyn and their family for 30 years. It is in an iconic location in central Swindon and will be run by tenant licensee Shaun Montague. Katie and Mario and other existing staff are also remaining. We are delighted the way things are and have no plans to change.
“Rudi’s is a real meeting place,” added James. “Everyone visiting Swindon spots Rudi’s 1930s art deco building when they drive through the town centre, especially in the evening when its colourful neon signage is lit up. It’s been 30 years in the making, and now we’re looking forward to the next 30 years.”
Swindon students get new bar, and Arkell’s support 08/12/2016
Swindon College is celebrating getting a brand new bar for its hospitality and catering restaurant, courtesy of Arkell’s Brewery. But that’s not all. Plans are also being laid for the brewery to provide on-going support and advice to students studying hospitality and catering, helping prepare them for the real world of work.
Picture shows: Joshua Fernandez, first year hospitality and catering student at Swindon College with Faith Rostron behind the new bar, with George Arkell
Swindon College hospitality and catering lecturer, Faith Rostron, approached Arkell’s to see if the Swindon brewery would sponsor the refurbishment of the tired bar area in the college restaurant. “Arkell’s went one better,” she said. “They agreed to install a bar, repurposed from one of their pubs, redecorate the whole area and provide some furniture too. It looks really attractive and we are very grateful.”
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “We have been developing closer links with Swindon College for a while and we were really pleased to be able to do something so positive for the students. We have also been invited in to talk to students, giving them practical information on what it’s really like to work in the hospitality industry, and we’re looking forward to doing this in 2017.”
According to the British Hospitality Association, in 2014 (latest statistics available), there were 2.9 million people employed in hospitality in the UK. However, one particular area of concern is the shortage of chefs in the UK. This is due in part to an increasing number of restaurants being opened. However, according to Faith, it’s also due to a lack of students applying to train.
George said: “There is a national shortage of chefs coming into the industry. While the hours can be long, they are in many other careers too. Being a chef is sociable, creative and very rewarding, and we are always on the look out for good candidates to come and join the Arkell’s team.
Arkell’s is looking forward to building a strong relationship with Swindon College and helping to support its students.
Father Christmas comes early to Arkell’s 08/12/2016
Father Christmas made an early visit to Arkell’s to check that everything was ready ahead of the brewery’s annual Arkell’s Christmas Market, being held at the brewery on Saturday, December 10th from 10am-3pm, but eagle-eyed children from Ruskin School spotted him as they came home from school.
The 2016 Tree makes the long trip from Wales to Arkell's Brewery! 28/11/2016
Our 2016 Christmas tree is on it's way from Wales to Arkell's. We've picked the biggest and best we could get on the lorry!
Cirencester pub takes self-promotion to the other side of the world 23/11/2016
The landlords of The Talbot Inn, Victoria Road, Cirencester might be on a well-deserved break following the English cricket team’s tour of India, but they don’t see it as a time to let up on promotion of their pub.
Dave and Ann Holliss always put up their flag at matches, but this time it was caught on camera by a photographer from The Indian Times as he was snapping shot of England cricketers Alastair Campbell and Joe Root.
“We always take our flag to matches,” said Ann. “But we didn’t expect it to be on the front pages of the sporting section in the Indian Times.”
While they’re not members, the couple follow the Barmy Army, a growing and now well-organised group of dedicated cricket fans who will literally travel to the ends of the earth to watch their favourite team.
“Running a pub means that we can’t take much time off to follow the team in person,” says Ann. “But we did manage to catch a few days at Lords this summer. However, this trip to India has been long in the planning, and we’re thrilled the pub has made it into their national press.”
The English cricket team might be touring India until the end of January, but Dave and Ann will be heading home to The Talbot, Cirencester later this week.
No room at the Inn! Revamped Lansdowne Strand hosts Nativity world record 16/11/2016
The race is on to finish a £1/4 million refurbishment of Calne’s most iconic building, the Grade 2 listed Lansdowne Strand hotel, to ensure that it can host the Wiltshire town’s Guinness World Record attempt to have the most living figures in a nativity scene ever.
The World Record attempt, being organised by Calne’s Town Council, needs over 1039 people to take part, and will take place on 3rd December outside The Lansdowne Strand on The Green from 5.15-5.45pm. In order to break the record, every person needs to be dressed as a Nativity character in full costume and remain on The Green for 30 minutes.
New Lansdowne Strand landlords Joel and Anna Lear are determined to do the town proud, welcoming nativity participants and townspeople to the hotel to celebrate the world record attempt.
Anna said: “It’s an incredible tall order to achieve such a World Record, and we’ll also be aiming for our own hotel record in offering hospitality to as many people as possible after the attempt.”
Experienced landlords Anna and Joel Lear took over the 26-bedroom hotel in November, and have been working alongside hotel owners Wiltshire brewery Arkell’s overseeing its complete refurbishment.
Managing director at Arkell’s Brewery, George Arkell, said: “We bought the hotel in 2007. It’s a difficult building to bring into the 21st century as the hotel is listed and the old brewery at the back dates back to the 12th century, so every investment we make has had to be very carefully planned.
“It’s helped that the town of Calne is growing and the support from local organisations and the town council has been exceptional,” he added.
Lansdowne Strand landlady Anna Lear, said: “We’re all working flat out to complete the work on the hotel, which has included a total redesign of the restaurants and bars, to make sure we’re ready to support Calne Town Council’s world record attempt. There’s nothing like an immovable deadline to ensure the builders, plumbers, painters and decorators finish on time. No one wants to stand in the way of a Guinness world record.
“From the end of November, we’ll be throwing open the doors of the Lansdowne Strand hotel to welcome guests and local people in from first thing in the morning to last orders at night,” said Anna. “While we reckon there really will be no room at the Inn on 3rd December, we hope that won’t put visitors off dropping in and seeing what we’ve done to the hotel afterwards. We think they won’t recognise the place.”
Arkells raises a glass to 'the best pub in Cirencester' 04/11/2016
The Golden Cross Inn has been officially been awarded the Best Pub in Cirencester by the readers of The Wilts and Glos Standard newspaper.
The Black Jack Street Arkells pub beat off competition from some of the towns other venues as well as entrants from Tetbury, Fairford and Cirencester’s surrounding villages.
The Wilts and Glos ran a public vote to decide the winner, with the prize being for the landlord and his staff to go and serve a pint in the Houses of Parliament.
The Golden Cross has recently had a revamp of its beer garden, Stable Bar and B&B rooms and landlord Mark Lindesay, who has been in charge for seven years, is extremely proud of this recent accolade.
“The award has taken us all by surprise and I would like to thank the people of Cirencester and the surrounding area for their votes.
My staff and I take great pride in what we do and this is as much about them and anyone who has worked with us for the last year, especially Arkells Brewery who not only supply us with our excellent beer but have been instrumental in the refurbishments. This year we have revamped our garden, Stable Bar space and B&B rooms.
Cirencester has been very kind to us over the years and despite the pub industry going through some difficult times we have been well supported. We are always busy over the weekends and our Sunday lunch is currently at its best, but don’t take my word for it, come and try it."
Arkell’s 2016 Christmas Market is going to be yummy 04/11/2016
With just a month to go, it’s full steam ahead in the planning of this year’s Arkell’s Christmas Market, being held at the Brewery on December 10th from 10am-3pm. And this year there will be more stalls, including more food stalls than ever.
Last year over 2000 people flocked to Wiltshire brewery Arkell’s first Christmas Market to visit Father Christmas and his reindeer, buy last minute presents from local craftspeople, and enjoy festive music from the Pegasus Brass Band.
This year Arkell’s is expanding its food court to welcome local sausage makers and artisan bakers alongside cheese, fudge, meats and patisserie producers’ stalls. The brewery will also be welcoming a coffee van, milk shakes and waffle sellers, bratwurst sausage sellers and fresh pizza makers to keep visitors fed and watered as they enjoy the Christmas spirit in the grounds of one of the UK’s oldest and most atmospheric steam breweries. The Pegasus Brass Band will be joined by ukulele band The Ukey D'Ukes.
Arkell’s Christmas Market will be held outside, in the grounds of Arkell’s beautiful and historic Victorian steam brewery. Along with stalls selling crafts from handmade jewellery to candles, children’s clothing, glass bowls and wooden chopping boards, to a wider variety of food, Father Christmas and his reindeer will be in attendance (Father Christmas from 10.30am-12pm and 1.30pm-2.30pm, the reindeer from 10.30-1pm), along with fair rides, hot food stalls and the live music.
“Our first Festive market last year really kicked off Christmas for us,” said managing director George Arkell. “It’s a wonderful way to start the countdown to Christmas and we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone in.”
Steaming ahead with a brand new brew at Arkell’s 31/10/2016
Arkell’s Brewery, which is helping Swindon celebrate 175 years of Swindon’s railway heritage this year, will be releasing its final special Steam beer on November 7th.
Steam Powered, at 4% ABV, is a delicious dark mild ale using four different malts to create a deep and complex flavour of chocolate, caramel and coffee – perfect for warming the body on nippy, Autumnal evenings. The malt is then layered with a piney finish from a special blend of English-grown hops.
At 173 years’ old Arkell’s Brewery grew up alongside the Great Western Railway, establishing itself just two years after the great railway works. Arkell’s steam brewery was originally built eighteen years later, in 1861, and used steam from coal fires to run many of the processes in brewing. The brewery still adopts many of the same techniques, using steam as its main source of energy.
Head brewer Alex Arkell, said: “I’ve loved creating these special ales to celebrate the town’s railway heritage. Swindon has a lot to be proud of.”
In celebration of 175 years of Steam in Swindon, Arkell’s brewed three special cask beers this year. The first, Golden Gooch (3.7% ABV), was released in September to celebrate Sir Daniel Gooch, Brunel’s first engineer’s 200th birthday on August 24th. From October 3, Hooter (5% ABV) was on the pumps at Arkell’s pubs and from November 7, the final beer, Steam Powered (4% ABV) will be available across the Arkell’s estate of pubs.
“The way we brew beer at Arkell’s today is much the same as it would have been in the 19th century,” says Alex. “Time doesn’t stand still, however, and while we celebrate our heritage, sensitive investment in our brew house and its equipment should keep us powering forward for the next 100 years.”
[Photograph attached of Head Brewer Alex Arkell next to a Class K horizontal steam engine.]
Arkell’s Kingsdown beer is champion 07/10/2016
Arkell’s Kingsdown has been named champion beer in the 2016 Taste of the West Product Awards announced at a prestigious ceremony held at Exeter Cathedral.
The Awards, now in their 23rd year, celebrate the best food and drink across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire and are a benchmark for excellence across the region. In 2016, 1,200 products and over 300 hospitality and retail establishments entered the awards, with the highest standard ever being set for judges to select winners from.
Head brewer Alex Arkell said: “We’re over the moon to have won Champion Beer for our Kingsdown brew. We were up against some really strong competition this year, some of the best breweries in the country. It’s a huge pat on the back for all the Arkell’s brew house team."
Kingsdown came into existence in the 1960s and Arkells has brewed it regularly ever since.
The ceremony was attended by over 400 people, with representatives from award winning producers, hospitality establishments, retailers, top chefs, food writers and others involved with and supporting the industry. With a lunch menu specially created using Taste of the West Award winning products from across the region, the event was a culinary feast and a great celebration of the quality of food and drink in the South West and the passion of those who produce, serve or sell it.
Mike Anderson of Hale Events, organisers of The Source Trade Show and sponsors of the Awards said “The venue was stunning, and the food as always was amazing. I always come away really pleased to have tasted so many award winning products. It’s something we talk about all the time both to colleagues, and also friends, to share the story of the region’s amazing produce.”
John Sheaves, Chief Executive of Taste of the West, announced the winners. He said: “We are absolutely delighted with the response by industry to our awards programme this year. With over 1200 products entered, we are justly proud of our record for driving excellence based on our core values of quality, integrity and provenance. These awards underpin those values and strengthen our regional brand, which is attracting considerable interest from new markets – nationally and internationally, and is now opening up new opportunities for the region’s foodie sector.”
Arkell’s newest beer is a Hooter! 28/09/2016
We are helping Swindon celebrate 175 years of Swindon’s railway heritage this year, and are releasing our second special Steam beer on October 3rd.
Hooter, at 5% ABV, is a luscious dark beer with floral notes from the hops, on top of strong roasted flavours from Brown and Munich malts.
At 173 years’ old Arkell’s Brewery grew up alongside the Great Western Railway, establishing itself just two years after the great railway works. To everyone’s great sadness, Swindon’s iconic railway works closed in 1986, but its legacy in the town remains strong, and Arkell’s Brewery is still brewing beer every week.
George Arkell, managing director at Arkell’s Brewery said: “Everywhere you look in Swindon there are references to our great railway past, and we’re very proud to have been a part of it from the beginning.”
In celebration of 175 years of Steam in Swindon, Arkell’s is brewing three special cask beers this year. The first, Golden Gooch (3.7% ABV), was released in September to celebrate Sir Daniel Gooch, Brunel’s first engineer’s 200th birthday on August 24th. From October 3, it’s Hooter (5% ABV) and from November 7, the final beer, Steam Powered (4% ABV) will be available across the Arkell’s estate of pubs.
Head brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “In the mid 19th century, dark ales would have been extremely popular with a typical brewery which would have produced three or four, from 5% -7% ABV. Men were doing a lot more physical work then, especially those labouring in the hot engine sheds of Brunel’s mighty Swindon engineering works, and the sweet malty characteristic of these beers was the perfect refreshment, replenishing their energy.
“Apart from generally producing lower gravity beer, the way we brew beer at Arkell’s today is much the same as it would have been then. What we have improved, through investment in well-engineered brew house equipment, is the consistency of our beer. Now that’s something that Brunel would definitely have understood.”
The Talbot Inn ‘Hare apparent’ for 2017 Cirencester Hare Trail 22/08/2016
The Talbot inn, Victoria Road, Cirencester is getting ready to participate in Cirencester’s famous 2017 Cotswold Hare Trail for the first time.
Dave, Ann and Tom Holliss outside The Talbot Inn on Victoria Road, Cirencester
Landlady at the pub, Ann Holliss, said: “We’ve seen the wonderful hares dotted around the town this year and decided it was time to get involved. We are a small family business running a lovely, traditional town pub and it’s quite an investment for us, but we feel it’s such a fantastic community project which has brought the town closer together that it’s hugely worthwhile. At the Talbot we welcome visitors from all over the world. They love Cirencester and the town has been hugely enhanced by the Hare Trail.”
Cirencester Hare Festival was launched in 2014 by Florence Beetlestone. Local businesses sponsor 5 feet tall individual hares, which are then uniquely decorated by artists, many living locally. The final hares are then put on display around the town and, for the first time this year, further afield and a CotswoldHare Trail published to encourage locals and tourists to follow the trail and discover parts of the Cotswolds they didn’t know.
All net profits from the 2017 Hare Festival will go to the National Star College at Ullenwood near Cheltenham and local heritage projects.
Ann added: “This is a brilliant way to help reveal a new Cotswolds, one of hidden highways and byways, local pubs, shops and hotels which don’t always feature in the higher profile tourism campaigns. There is so much more to enjoy.”
Tell them about the honey, mummy 19/08/2016
Arkell’s Brewery has renamed one of its most successful, award-winning beers to better showcase its unique ingredient: honey. The beer’s new name is Arkell’s Honey Pale Ale. It’s the same brew, same taste, same everything. Just a new name focussing on what really matters: what’s in it!
Arkell’s Honey Pale Ale started life over ten years’ ago as Bee’s Organic Ale. Launched at the height of interest in organic food and drink, it started as a special bottled beer, but such was the interest in the brew that a few years’ ago Arkell’s began brewing it as a cask ale, available only at particular times of year.
That wasn’t enough for Arkell’s drinkers. They wanted to drink it all year around so last year Arkell’s began brewing it in kegs, in order that it can be enjoyed chilled.
The beer is still brewed to organic standards, and its unique honey ingredient comes from a UK honey supplier. With its golden, amber colour, floral and honey nose, it tastes light and fresh with perhaps just a hint of tropical fruits.
Head brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “Over the last few months we’ve chatted to lots of customers who were unaware of the key ingredient, the honey. It was almost like it was a secret ingredient, and that shouldn’t really be the case. We are shouting loud and proud about the quality of our ingredients so with the new name, we’ve put honey right at the heart of the beer branding.”
Arkell’s Honey Pale Ale, 4.5% ABV, is available across all participating Arkell’s pubs.
Arkell’s helps celebrate Sir Daniel Gooch, Swindon’s forgotten STEAM hero 17/08/2016
Arkell’s Brewery, which grew up alongside the Great Western Railway, will be helping Swindon175, the team celebrating 175 years of Swindon’s railway heritage this year, to commemorate Sir Daniel Gooch. The celebration will take place on what would have been his 200th birthday on Wednesday August 24th.
On that day Swindon175 will be unveiling a brand new bust of Sir Daniel Gooch at Arkell’s Brewery, Hyde Road, Swindon. The bust has been made by talented young sculptor, Fatima Alves, a student at Swindon’s New College.
Graham Taylor, Principle of New College said “New College students and staff are delighted to be involved in Swindon 175 and the Sir Daniel Gooch celebrations. New College course leader Dan Hazelton and the Design & Technology students have relished the challenge of producing a lasting legacy for Swindon’s unsung hero of the railway age, and one who had a profound impact on the growth of Swindon. The Gooch bust was designed and produced in college using the latest 3D printing techniques.
“The celebration at Arkells is going to be wonderful. Can anyone think of a better combination than steam trains and beer!”
Daniel Gooch was born on August 24, 1816 in Northumberland. His father, an iron founder, moved to Monmouthshire in Wales in 1831 where the young Daniel began training as an engineer. Daniel’s training included a spell with Robert Stephenson, the son of the great George Stephenson, in Newcastle upon Tyne before being recruited by Isambard Kingdom Brunel at the tender age of 20, with the title of ‘Superintendent of Locomotive Engines’.
Gooch was a hugely successful train engineer. He was also responsible for identifying Swindon as the location of Brunel’s railway works and for designing the first complete locomotive to be built here.
1865 was a year to remember for Gooch. He was elected chairman of the Great Western Railway and also elected as Conservative MP for the nearby town of Cricklade, a constituency he held for the next 20 years. In 1866 he was also created a baronet.
Sir Daniel Gooch passed away in 1889 at the ripe age of 83.
George Arkell, managing director at Arkell’s Brewery said: “We are delighted to host the celebration of Sir Daniel Gooch at the brewery. He has obviously sat in the shadow of Isambard Kingdom Brunel for too long and it’s wonderful to help reveal his true legacy to Swindon. We’re sure his longevity was due in part to the health-giving properties of a pint of Arkell’s ale!”
Caroline Black, Project Manager of Swindon175 said “Swindon175 is about celebrating our past, present and future so it was absolutely fitting that we handed this project over to the students to create their own style of traditional bust, but with a modern take. We have not been disappointed, the bust is a beautifully crafted piece of art that deserves to be seen by the entire town. The plan is that Sir Daniel will “go on tour” in public places over the next 12 months beginning at Arkell’s Brewery. He will also take pride of place in the Brunel Centre, Central Library and Steam Museum with other venues yet to be confirmed. The brewing of the Golden Gooch beer and the unveiling of the bust at Arkell’s is the perfect way to celebrate the 200th birthday of the man who put Swindon firmly on the map”
In celebration of 175 years of Steam in Swindon, Arkell’s is brewing three special cask beers. The first, celebrating Sir Daniel Gooch, will be being brewed during the celebration of his birth on August 24. Golden Gooch (3.7% ABV) will be available from August 29. From October 3, it’s Hooter (5% ABV) and from November 7, the final beer, Steam Powered (4% ABV) will be available across the Arkell’s estate of pubs.
Head brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “It’s quite a responsibility to come up with three special beers to commemorate such a huge part of Swindon’s heritage. When I was researching their ingredients I wondered what type of Arkell’s beer he would have tasted back in the late 19th century. It’s fascinating to think that 150 years’ later Swindon people are still drinking beer brewed by us. It adds a welcome continuity to the town which has a much longer history than many appreciate.”
Have a pint & packet of crisps say new landlords 16/08/2016
It’s two pints of bitter and a packet of crisps at The Village Inn, Liddington after new landlords took over the pub. Phil and Ann Basford are welcoming back people who want to drop in for a drink, but not necessarily a meal at the Arkell’s-owned pub.
“Many pubs don’t welcome drinkers only,” says Ann. “We believe that in our pub it shouldn’t be the case that you’re only welcome if you want a meal. We’ve been running pubs for over 30 years and love the mix of customers who want a couple of drinks before going home to supper, and those who want to eat out.
“The Village Inn at Liddington has been known for years as a food-only pub, and that’s great – we’ve still got a full menu and a carvery too, but we also want to be known for our welcome to all customers, however they want to use the pub. And that includes families with children too. It’s only by welcoming everyone that a village pub maintains its viability and relevance to the local community.”
Phil and Ann are going even further to maintain The Village Inn’s place at the heart of Liddington. The pub opens at 8am every morning so that villagers can pick up a daily newspaper, and the bare essential groceries too.
“It’s about being part of the local community,” says Ann. “We regularly buy milk, butter, sugar and eggs – even loo rolls and washing powder for the pub, so we’re happy to take orders from villagers if they can’t get to the shops themselves.”
Phil and Ann have watched the rise and fall of pub trends over 30 years of running pubs themselves across the south and west of England, but maintain that the fundamentals of running a pub will never change. “People visit a pub to be sociable: for a swift half on the way home, or to chew over the day with others. They might want to make a night of it by having a meal. Landlords can’t dictate what their customers want. So we don’t. Our job is to welcome everyone and make sure they enjoy their visit.”
Ann and Phil began their career in the licensed trade running The Eagle at Watchfield before running pubs in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Somerset. They became Arkell’s landlords last year when they took on The Tavern at Kemble, near Cirencester before finally finding the pub in Liddington.
Ann says: “It’s perfect for us, because our family live in Swindon, five minutes away.”
The Duke’s function room is icing on the cake 05/08/2016
They’ve been running The Duke Hotel at Hilmarton for less than a year, but Steve, Gail and their son Sean Carroll have already transformed it t into a village hub and a tourist destination. Now they, and pub owners Arkell’s Brewery, have revealed a brand new function room after a £30,000 refurbishment.
From the outside passers-by will see little difference, but the function space behind large doors has been refurbished to reveal an edgy and very cool space, which some locals are referring to as the Hilmarton night club.
Gail explains. “The two story building has a fantastic bar downstairs, while upstairs there is a wonderful empty space with views over the valley. Despite completing the refurbishment just a couple of weeks ago we’ve already hosted a 21st birthday party and a wedding, and we’re taking bookings for August and beyond.”
Gail, Steve and their son Sean (29), head chef, are all experiences licensees and it shows. “When Arkell’s told us last year the tenancy on The Duke was available we could see that it had huge potential,” says Gail. “What it lacked, perhaps, was an experienced landlord’s vision to put all the space to good use and reignite its friendly, hospitable welcome.”
The family wasted no time in welcoming the villagers to the pub, holding a barbecue for them when they first arrived. The family is planning to do the same this year in celebration of their first anniversary at the pub. 29-year old Sean is also building his reputation. “He’s a great chef,” says mum Gail. “I don’t let him forget that I taught him everything he knows!”
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “It’s fantastic to see The Duke at Hilmarton thriving. It’s a big site to run. As well as the five letting rooms in the hotel itself there is a lovely garden and a small caravan park too, which is now getting very busy thanks to the Carroll brand of hospitality. The function room is the icing on the cake, and there are likely to be many more of them as interest in it grows as a wedding venue.”
It’s the local answer at The Tavern, Kemble 26/07/2016
Local couple Dan Weaver and Tracy Lovesey have taken over the tenancy at The Tavern at Kemble, but they’re not anticipating any surprises. Dan was brought up in in Kemble and Tracy grew up in the next-door village of Oaksey. They almost know the pub and its regulars inside out.
Tracy and Dan outside The Tavern
Before taking over behind the bar, Dan and Tracy worked for the former landlords and knew the ropes. “Once our bosses told us they were moving to run another Arkell’s pub near Swindon, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on the tenancy,” said Dan.
All they had to do was persuade Wiltshire brewery Arkell’s, which owns The Tavern, that they had the expertise to run the pub. Dan said: “The brewery were great, they allowed us to manage the pub for a couple of months before we signed up. That way we could really see what we were getting into.”
Before coming to The Tavern Dan, who attended Deer Park School, had previously worked at The Wild Duck at Ewen. Tracy worked at The Wheatsheaf at Oaksey.
“The great thing about The Tavern is that it’s got a fantastic regular local trade,” says Dan. “And because I grew up in the village, I know most of them.” The pub is also just 20 yards away from Kemble Station, and it can get busy with commuters at times. But the pub’s personality comes from the locals.
“As soon as they arrive in the car park we’ll start pulling their regular pint of beer,” he says.
However, Dan and Tracy plan to widen the appeal of The Tavern by going back to its roots. The Tavern actually started life as a tea-shop, not a pub, in the mid 18th century. “I’d like to open up for breakfasts, and offer teas and coffees all day alongside our regular bar and food trade,” says Tracy.
The Tavern hosts four skittles teams and is aiming to re-establish a darts team.
“Kemble is growing,” says Tracy, referring to the new development of Bovis homes currently under development that will boost the 1000-strong population of the village. “And we want to be able to offer them a wider choice.”
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “There can’t be many villages in England which have the range of facilities Kemble offers: not only a shop, a main-line railway station, even its own airport, but also a pub run by fantastic locals Dan and Tracy, who know their customers better than anyone.”
Summer Jazz, Fizz & Fun Raise Funds for Cancer Charity 20/07/2016
A summer garden party at The Golden Cross, Cirencester has raised over £350 for Macmillan Cancer Care.
The award-winning Golden Cross Inn on Cirencester’s Black Jack Street hosted the event on Friday July 8th in its newly-renovated walled Cotswold garden and Stable Bar space. Guests were treated to Prosecco, Pimm’s, homemade scones and canapés while enjoying live music from the Stick Key Bass jazz trio, fronted by renowned local drummer Clifford Haydn-Tovey.
“We were blessed with perfect summer weather and everyone enjoyed themselves while raising money for a great cause,” said Golden Cross landlord Mark Lindesay. “Having Clifford’s Stick Key Bass jazz band play at the event was a bonus, and we’re now looking forward to hosting them in the garden on a regular basis.”
“Arkell’s Brewery and I have invested a lot of time and money creating this unique garden and function space and we decided the best way to show it off was to host an event raising money for Macmillan,” he added.
The Golden Cross Cotswold Garden and Stable Bar are available for private hire with menus ranging from a business breakfast or afternoon tea to finger buffets and formal banquets, for groups from as small as 12 up to 60 people, while both areas are open for public use every day, with regular barbecues on offer throughout the summer months.
The Bear reveals ambitious new chef 24/06/2016
The Bear at Marlborough has taken on a new chef who is building the pub’s food offer to match the success of its bar and accommodation business.
Iain Watson, Steven Conner and Alex Arkell outside the Bear, Marlborough
Steven Connor, 40, who spent four years as a sous chef at nearby Silks on the Down, has taken over the kitchen of the Arkell’s-owned pub. Steven said: “I’m at the stage in my career when it’s time to run my own kitchen. The Bear at Marlborough is a fantastic town centre pub. Over the last two years the landlords Iain and liz Watson have transformed it and we’re planning to build on that success with a great new menu using local suppliers.”
It helps that The Bear is right next door to Marlborough’s best butchers, Andrews. “I visit the butchers almost daily to pick the meat I want to cook,” says Steven.
He also buys his vegetables from local supplier Arthur David.
Most chefs have a signature dish, but Steven just likes cooking good food. He began his career in Surrey before moving to the South West where he worked his way up to become a senior sous chef in a four star hotel. His career also took him to Brazil for four years where he worked as a chef in Sao Paolo before returning to the UK and Wiltshire.
“My international experience has broadened my range and I’ve got a few favourite South American dishes which I’ll put on the menu from time to time,” he adds.
Landlord Iain Watson is delighted to have attracted Steven to The Bear. “Liz and I took over the pub around two years’ ago. The bar is busy and so is the accommodation. The icing on the cake for us will be a brilliant food menu too.”
Arkell’s Brewery, which owns The Bear, is also planning to refurbish the hotel’s bed and breakfast accommodation later in the year.
Arkell’s managing director, George Arkell, said: “The Bear has flourished under Iain and Liz’s management and we’re looking forward to tasting Steven’s food. With a new menu, and updated hotel accommodation later this year, the pub will have a lot more than just the ‘bear’ necessities of life.”
Landlords retire after incredible 25 years at Kingsdown 24/06/2016
After an incredible 25 years behind the bar at The Kingsdown Inn, Swindon, stalwart landlords John and Liz Mcgregor are taking well-earned retirement.
Liz and John Mcgregor outside The Kingsdown
Arkell’s Brewery chairman, James Arkell, paid tribute to the long-serving couple. “John and Liz have been fantastic landlords. On the other side of the road from the brewery, the pub is literally a stone’s throw away from us - very convenient for extra beer deliveries during the week, but as yet there’s no secret tunnel from the brewery to the pub.”
Liz and John were head-hunted by Arkell’s Brewery in 1991 after they were spotted running The Queensfield pub in Swindon, which was closed by Enterprise Inns in 2013 and later demolished to make way for housing.
John and Liz hail from London. John grew up in Chelsea and trained as a chef and Liz was brought up on the Old Kent Road. A career in the licensed trade was an accident, according to John. “I accepted a job as a relief manager and that was it, a life-changing career. What Liz and I loved about the business was that we could work alongside each other, and bring our children up together,” he added. The couple’s first move out of London was to The Rising Sun at Newbury, before moving to The Queensfield and then the Arkell’s-owned Kingsdown.
Retirement might beckon for the couple, but John has no intention of abandoning the pub he’s looked after for two decades, and the couple will continue to live close by in Stratton. “I’ll continue playing for the Kingsdown pool team,” he said. “Running a pub is a great social life and I know I’ll miss some aspects of it.”
The new landlord, Tom Povey, takes over from John and Liz on Saturday.
James Arkell added: “We wish John and Liz a happy and well-deserved retirement and look forward to a new chapter in the Kingsdown’s long history with a new landlord behind the bar.”
Arkell’s celebrates a haul of beer awards 08/06/2016
It’s been a rich couple of years for beer awards at Arkell’s Brewery, and the brewery’s reception is fast running out of wall space to show them all off.
Alex Arkell celebrates his beers
Arkell’s has won awards from a range of organisations, including the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), Taste of the West and the World Beer Awards. These include a gold and silver award in the SIBA national beer competition for 1843 Craft lager in the last two years. Also in the SIBA regional competition last month Moonlight picked up a silver, Tinge of Ginge a bronze and another gold for the 1843 Craft lager. Taste of the West awarded the brewery a hearty five awards: Golds for Kingsdown and Bee’s Organic, silvers for Moonlight and The Master, and a highly commended for Wiltshire Gold. The British Bottling Institute rewarded Arkell’s with a silver for Moonlight in its nationwide competition and the National Honey Show rewarded Arkell’s with its gold award for its Bee’s Organic, which contains organic honey to sweeten the brew.
One highlight award for head brewer Alex Arkell were silver for Moonlight ale and bronze for Bee’s Organic in the World Beer Awards late last year.
“The World Beer Awards are the global awards selecting the best internationally recognised beer styles,” said Alex. “The annual tasting selects the 'World's Best Beers' to consumers and the trade throughout the world. We were beyond delighted to learn that we’d won the first year of entering them.
“Our beers are being judged against their peers, and there are more and more breweries opening up every year,” he added.
According to the Campaign for Real Ale, there are now 1,424 breweries across the UK, after 204 opened in the past year.
“The competition is growing, so to do so well against an increasing number of breweries is fantastic,” said Alex. “Our success is thanks to the significant investment we’re making in new brew house equipment, around £1 million over the last few years which has improved the consistency of our beers, and the broadening of our range to cater for changing tastes and flavours.
“Most of all it’s a big pat on the back for our brew house team who work alongside me brewing all our beer in the traditional way every week, and our brilliant draymen who make sure that every barrel and bottle arrives at our pubs in tip top condition every delivery.”
Arkell’s Brewery announced as sponsors of Lechlade Festival 16/05/2016
We're thrilled to be announced as sponsors of the main stage at this year’s Lechlade Music Festival.
The three-day family-friendly festival takes place at the end of this month over the bank holiday weekend, from 27th to 29th May.
Now in its sixth year, the festival features over 70 bands on 3 stages with a host of free activities for families and children, in addition to the music.
‘We’re delighted to have Arkell’s on board’ said Festival Director Jennie Rainsford ‘It’s an obvious fit with the festival location being so close to one of the brewery’s busiest and popular pubs, The Riverside.’
Scottish rock band The Proclaimers headline this year’s event which last year saw 5,000 festival goers rocking to Status Quo. The Arkell’s Stage line-up includes festival favourites Doctor and The Medics, Swindon based band Felix and The Funk, a Pink Floyd tribute show and 90s Brit Pop band Last Great Dreamers.
‘Lechlade Festival is a fantastic event, not only for the town community but for the region,’ said brewery managing director George Arkell. ‘We were delighted to be invited to sponsor the event and are really looking forward to a wonderful weekend of music, laughter and family entertainment. We’re also hoping for good weather too.’
The festival bars will feature Arkell’s ales as well as those from Donnington and Ramsbury breweries, along with artisan cider from Hogan’s Cider.
The brewery joins Swindon based companies Yuasa Europe and SAM FM Radio as sponsors of this year’s festival.
Children 16 and under go free to the festival and festival goers can choose to camp for the weekend or just visit for a day. Save on tickets by buying in advance from www.lechladefestival.co.uk or from Lechlade Post Office.
Follow the latest news on the Festival Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lechladefestival and on Twitter at @LechladeFest
Arkell’s latest brew is the essence of vanilla 11/05/2016
Arkell’s has released its final ale in the 2016 Flavour Collection. At 4.5%, Vanilla Pod Ale is out across Arkell’s estate of pubs throughout the month of May.
Head brewer Alex Arkell, launched his new Flavour range back in January, kicking off with Strawberry Sensation, a 5% ABV ale with a dash of strawberry followed by the hugely popular A Tinge of Ginge (3.5% ABV with a hint of ginger), which he first launched in 2015. Vanilla Pod Ale is the final flourish in this trio of flavours. It has a sweet rounded base, using the fruity Jarrylo hop from the United States added on top.
“The fantastic thing about experimenting with different ingredients is that the results aren’t always what you might imagine,” says Alex. “The Jarrylo hop brings a banana like flavour to the beer onto which we add vanilla at the end of fermentation. The mix is a deliciously fruity treat with a distinct dry finish. Perfect for early summer drinking, rain or shine. A good thing I think with the current British weather. You can drink Vanilla Pod Ale in galoshes or sandals.”
Alex spends his life either brewing beer or tasting it, which means spending time visiting pubs across the UK. “It’s a tough life, I suppose, but someone’s got to do it. The brewing industry is the most exciting it’s been for years and I’m constantly inspired by what everyone else is doing. No tastes and flavours are off the table when I sit down to devise a new beer.”
Vanilla Pod ale is available across Arkell’s estate of pubs throughout May and June.
Arkell’s beer now available online at OCADO 27/04/2016
Wiltshire brewery Arkell’s is celebrating being listed on the UK’s top on-line supermarket, OCADO.
Two of its award-winning beers, Moonlight (ABV 4.5%), and Wiltshire Gold (ABV 3.7%), are now available to buy online, both priced at £2.19 per bottle.
The listing is part of Arkell’s work with Taste of the West, the West Country’s highly successful food and drink cooperative. Ocado.com/tasteofthewestcountry.com is the first regional shop of its kind, the result of the collaboration of food and drink producers across the West Country, orchestrated by Taste of the West.
Nick Arkell, sales director at Arkell’s Brewery, said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for us to sell and promote our fabulous beers to OCADO’s growing customer base nationally. We are a regional, family brewery and enormously proud of it, with most of what we brew sold within an 80-mile radius of our brewery. But a bottle of Arkell’s tastes as good in Sheffield or Southampton as it does in Swindon, and now customers further afield can buy it.”
John Sheaves, CEO of Taste of the West said: “I am delighted with this development. It has been a long time in the planning and effectively takes Taste of the West onto a new innovative marketing platform. The new OCADO account is the first account for our new commercial service, run from our commercial arm, Taste of the West International, and feeds directly into a buoyant online market”.
To buy Arkell’s Moonlight or Wiltshire Gold, visit Ocado.com, click beers wines & spirits, click beer, click product name A-Z and Arkell’s Wiltshire Gold and Moonlight are revealed.
It’s the triple for Arkell’s as it picks up three SIBA Awards 21/04/2016
Arkell’s Brewery has picked up an impressive three awards for its beers at this year’s SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) Beer Awards.
It’s a silver for Moonlight, the beer with the best back story ever. First brewed as a special in 2003 to celebrate former brewery chairman Peter Arkell’s moonlight sorties behind enemy lines in the Second World War, Moonlight immediately picked up a huge fan base which demanded it become regular beer. Moonlight is a glorious golden colour, tastes fruity, sharp and dry with an ABV of 4.5%.
It’s a bronze for Tinge of Ginge (3.5% ABV with a suggestion of ginger). Tinge of Ginge is part of the Wiltshire brewery’s Flavour collection launched in January this year.
Arkell’s Bee’s Organic also picked up a bronze this year. This beer has won more awards than practically any other Arkell’s beer. Launched more than ten years’ ago to cater for the growing demand for tasty organic ale, Bee’s Organic is brewed from organically-grown malted barley, hops and delicious organic honey, giving it a light, refreshing taste with a hint of tropical fruits and an ABV of 4.5%.
Head brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “We’re thrilled with this haul of awards, especially as they celebrate three very different beers. Moonlight is a fabulous traditional ale, Tinge of Ginge is an exciting development for us, as we experiment with new tastes and flavours for our growing community of beer drinkers, and our Bee’s Organic proves beer can be as delicious and satisfying when its’ ingredients are sustainably sourced.”
SIBA, the Society of Independent Brewers, represents over 850 independent craft brewers across the UK producing over 5,000 craft-brewed beers in cask, craft keg, bottle and can.
Guy Sheppard, SIBA Chairman, commented on the impressive range of beers judged in the competition. He said: “The standard of entries this year was incredibly high and the judges had a very difficult job in picking the winners. These brewers’ choice awards represent the very best in independent craft beer in the South West.”
The Competition is the first of the 2016 round of Regional Competitions and winners from each category will go forward to compete against the winners of the other regions at the national finals in March 2017.
New landlords take flight at The Tawny Owl 24/03/2016
For only the third time in its 13-year existence, The Tawny Owl pub at Taw Hill Swindon, which first opened on 23 November 2003, has welcomed new landlords.
Dan Brackenbury and his fiancée Tracey Heath have taken over behind the Arkell’s-owned pub.
Dan’s face will be familiar to Arkell’s customers at The Sun, Coate Water, which he ran for almost a year before moving to the larger Tawny Owl. Tracey’s face, however, will be much more familiar to the hundreds of children at Haydon End Primary School where she spent eight years as the school’s office administrator.
Dan joined Arkell’s last year to run The Sun, but when The Tawny Owl became vacant, it was too good a chance to miss. “You don’t often get opportunities like the Tawny Owl, so I had to seize the moment, but I didn’t want to do it alone,” he said. “I am thrilled that Tracey has agreed to work alongside me. I just hope she doesn’t miss the children at Haydon End too much, but this is a lovely community pub so I hope they’ll come and see us with their families.”
Between them Dan and Tracey have five children, aged from 11-18, in fact, Tracey’s 18-year old son, Ben, works at the pub and helped persuade them to take the Tawny Owl on.
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “The Tawny Owl opened in 2003 thanks to the support and goodwill of the local community, which fought hard alongside us for a community amenity rather than more houses, as the planners first suggested. As a result we made sure that we built more than a pub, creating a children’s play area, plenty of parking and outside space for our customers. Having Dan and Tracey running the pub is fantastic. When they’ve settled in they’re planning a range of family-friendly events – which we’re already looking forward to.”
The Tavern, Kemble’s landlords steam ahead to reveal pub vacancy 21/03/2016
A landlord vacancy has been created at The Tavern at Kemble near Cirencester, a wonderful pub right next door to one of England’s prettiest, and busiest, rural train stations, after current landlord Phil and Ann Basford prepare to take on their second Arkell’s pub.
After just two years running The Tavern Inn for Arkell’s Brewery, Phil and Ann are taking the train just one junction up the line, hopping off at Swindon to take over The Village Inn at Liddington.
The couple took over The Tavern in October 2014, but have seized the chance to take on a bigger pub.
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “Our longest-serving landlords at The Village Inn, Liddington are taking well deserved retirement after almost 30 years’ of service with the brewery. But you can’t keep a good pub vacant for long and when Phil and Ann Basford put themselves forward for the pub we were delighted to accept. They will be closer to their families in Swindon and are more than ready to take over a bigger pub.
“That reveals a vacancy at The Tavern, but we’re sure this busy little village pub won’t be landlord-less for long, especially with the news that Kemble station car park is getting bigger, to accommodate increasing numbers of commuters.”
To find out more about being a landlord, visit www.arkells.com.
No seaside at Swindon, but new landlords help Sun shine 18/03/2016
Swindon might be landlocked, but the town’s Coate Water country park was just enough to persuade new landlords Lee Greening and Kerry Sumner to move from their previous pub at Lee-on-Solent on the South Coast to take over at Arkell’s pub The Sun at Coate Water.
New landlords at The Sun, Lee Greening and Kerry Sumner with managed house controller Julie Moss and Arkell's Brewery managing director George Arkell
“It was a wrench to leave a busy seaside pub, particularly because we love living by water, but it was owned by a pub company and we wanted to work directly with a local brewery,” said Kerry. “Arkell’s is a traditional pub-owning family brewery where you get to work with the directors, and we’ve been wanting to run a pub for them for ages. When The Sun came up, it was almost perfect. We can’t bring the seaside to Swindon, but we can help the Sun shine.”
Taking over an already successful pub is a big challenge, but Lee and Kerry have some exciting plans for The Sun. “We love live music, and The Sun already hosts acoustic and ‘open mic’ nights here. We’d like to invite local Swindon bands to come along, perform and get to know us. Then we’ll aim to host a charity music festival at the pub next year,” says Lee.
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “Lee and Kerry are a terrific team and they’ve already got some great plans for The Sun. We can’t do anything about Swindon not being by the seaside (though we’re delighted that Coate Water is close by), but we can give them lots of family brewery help, and support their charity fundraising plans.”
The taste of Swindon to celebrate the sound of Swindon. 15/03/2016
A very special beer has gone on sale as part of the Swindon175 celebrations, ‘Hooty’ has been specially brewed and bottled by Arkell's, Swindon's oldest business.
Named after George French, the folk hero who would replicate the sound of the Railway Works hooters using a piece of pipe, ‘Hooty’ will be on sale exclusively at STEAM Museum and directly from Arkell’s Brewery in Kingsdown.
‘Arkell’s have been absolutely fantastic in supporting our year of celebration and to have this beer ready for the first sounding of the Hooters on 22nd March couldn’t have been better.’ said Caroline Black, Project Manager for Swindon175.
Alex Arkell, Head Brewer at Arkell’s Brewery said: ‘The Brewery grew with the railway works and the town, and we wanted to support the Swindon175 celebrations in the best way we can, through our famous ales.’
‘Later this year we will also be brewing three special ales celebrating Swindon’s railway heritage and which will be available throughout our pubs.’ he continued.
An initial 1000 bottles have been produced, with more promised, and of course Hooty will be on sale on 26th March at STEAM, when the Hooters will sound at precisely 4.30pm, marking 30 years since the works closed.
If you want to know more about Swindon175 and the planned events, visit Swindon175.com or contact Caroline@Swindon175.com
Attached picture courtesy of Swindonweb, further pictures available from Calyx Pictures.
Editor’s notes: Swindon175 marks the anniversary of the birth of new Swindon when construction began on the Great Western Railway’s locomotive repair shed. Supported by sponsors and Swindon Borough Council and managed by Business West, 2016 will see a wide range of events which will involve Swindon’s people and businesses in a celebration of the town’s rich heritage and achievements.
Replicas of the famous works Hooters have been made by local steam engineer Colin Hatch and have been recently installed at STEAM. The original Hooters are still in place above what is now the Designer Outlet Village. For over a 100 years the original hooters would blast out every morning calling the men and women to work and then every afternoon to let the families know the day was over.
The pint-sized story of Arkell’s Brewery
At 173 years old, Arkell’s Brewery is one of just a few family breweries left in the UK.
The beer is still brewed in much the same way as it was when John Arkell first began the process in 1843 and the brewery buildings seem untouched by the passing years.
But Arkell's has not achieved its unique position as one of the oldest traditional family breweries in Britain today, by standing still. It invests in staff, equipment and pubs, and most importantly the beer itself.
The Brewery was established as an offshoot to the family farm near Swindon when Isambard Kingdom Brunel was building his the Great Western Railway locomotive works. Arkell’s beers helped quench the thirst of workers in the hot railway works.
The Arkell’s family still works at the brewery, alongside generations of other local families, brewing award-winning real ale and looking after over 100 pubs across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire.
Arkell’s regular ales include Wiltshire Gold, 3Bs and Bees Organic. The brewery also brews an award-winning lager: 1843. Special ales are brewed regularly, keeping the art of craft ale alive and offering drinkers new tastes and flavours.
White Hart Stratton’s new hotel goes down a storm 15/03/2016
The White Hart at Stratton’s new 24- room £1.4 million hotel accommodation, which only opened in November last year reported its busiest week to date in March.
According to Arkell’s managing director, George Arkell: “It proves that the demand is strong for smart, good value hotel accommodation especially when it’s teamed up with a great pub with such experienced friendly landlords as Tim and Lucy Hinton ”
The White Hart is located on the busy Oxford roundabout at Swindon, a major gateway to the town.
Arkell’s goes for 100% Cask Marque approval 27/02/2016
Arkell’s Brewery is going for 100% accreditation to the highly respected Cask Marque independent beer standard across the whole of its pub estate.
Head Brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “Over the last two years we’ve worked really hard to gain accreditation for our pubs, and we’re almost there. We take an enormous amount of pride in working to continuously deliver consistent high quality cask beer out of our brewery gates. This award scheme shows that our landlords are taking as much pride in looking after the beer once we pass on this responsibility on.”
Since 1997 Cask Marque has been ensuring that cask ale in pubs has been in perfect condition. Each year its 45 qualified assessors make over 20,000 visits to pubs in England, Scotland, Wales, Europe and even the U.S to check the temperature, appearance, aroma and taste of Britain’s favourite drink.
The Cask Marque scheme is operated by the Cask Marque Trust. Pubs that join the scheme are visited unannounced by an independent assessor at least twice a year. In the first year they are visited twice in the first three months and in subsequent years they are visited once in the summer and once in the winter.
The assessor checks all cask ales on sale for temperature, appearance, aroma and taste.
For the pub to pass, all the beers must reach the required standard and it then receives a plaque, framed certificate and merchandising material to inform its customers of the award and their rights.
Arkell’s has made a significant investment in cellar management training over the last three years. “Our investment is paying off,” says Alex. “But this is a team effort between us at the brewery and our landlords to make sure that every pint they serve to customers is top quality.”
Farewell to long-serving Norah and Mike; hello Rob and Harriet 23/02/2016
The Sally Pussey Inn, one of Royal Wootton Bassett’s most popular pubs and carveries bid a fond farewell to long serving landlords Norah Thomas and Mike Randall this week.
Arkell's Directors say farewell to Norah and Mike.
Norah and Mike took on the Arkell’s-owned pub fifteen years ago, seeing it through a huge refurbishment to make it one of the town’s busiest pubs.
Arkell’s Brewery managing director, George Arkell, paid tribute to Norah and Mike when the brewery’s chairman and directors made a special trip to the pub, presenting them with flowers and commemorative glass tankards. “They made an incredible team, and we are truly sorry they have decided to retire,” said George. “However, after fifteen years of running a hugely successful pub like the Sally Pussey, we reckon they deserve a bit of time off.”
Stepping into their huge landlord shoes are Rob Goves and Harriett Hall. Highly experienced in the trade, having run other licenced businesses as well as a successful outside catering business, this dynamic duo have been working alongside Mike and Norah for the last two weeks, learning the ropes in order to hit the ground running.
“We hope our customers shouldn’t notice much change,” said Rob. “After all, if it’s good already, why shake things up too much! The Sally Pussey is a really great pub and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to run it. We are aiming to build on what Norah and Mike have already achieved and look forward to getting to know the pub’s customers better.”
Pancake day at The Riverside 10/02/2016
It was all go for 28 year 6 pupils from Lechlade Primary School when they visited The Riverside Inn, Lechlade to learn how to flip pancakes for Pancake Day. First making pancakes, under the eagle eye of The Riverside's head chef its landlady Summer Lancaster, then learning how to flip them without them sticking to the roof of the pub's function room.
Then it was pancake racing time, with all 28 ten and eleven-year olds racing up and down the pub to win a medal and a certificate.
"We loved having the children here and hope that it can become an annual event," said landlady Summer Lancaster.
Swindon’s best-loved landlords dedicate leaving party to raising money for Ethan Gibbs, who has leukemia. 22/01/2016
Pete and Bev Neal, who’ve run The Moonrakers at Gorse Hill, one of Swindon’s most iconic pubs for five years, and other Arkell’s pubs such as The Manor and The County Ground are retiring from the pub trade.
Ethan with his mum and dad
And this dynamic duo intend to go out with a big bang, raising money for two-year old Ethan Gibbs, who has been diagnosed with Leukemia.
“We’ve had an amazing time at the Moonrakers,” said Bev. “The pub has always sat right in the heart of the local community and we’ve loved helping the local community with fund-raising events during our time in all the pubs we’ve run. various pubs. But when we heard about Ethan and his mum and dad, from Ethan’s grandmother who comes into the pub regularly, we knew that we had to do something special.”
So the couple are not celebrating their leaving do by having a few rounds with their (hundreds of regulars), instead they’ll be working the last weekend 24/7, to raise money for Ethan.
Ethan Gibbs is a happy go lucky two-year old boy who started play school last year. He was doing really well, so his mum and dad Clarice (Reeves) and Peter’s (Gibbs) lives were turned upside down on Nov 5th 2015 when he was diagnosed with Leukaemia. His family's lives have been massively affected watching him go through the grueling treatment, though amazingly Ethan has not let all this get to him.
Bev says: “The funds raised will be to help his mum and dad with expenses, a chance to take their lovely little boy on a trip or treat him to something special.”
The Pub is running a raffle throughout January with the draw taking place on Pete & Bev’s last Sunday, January 31. They are holding a charity auction over the big weekend. Raffle tickets are on sale now from the pub.
Other fundraising events throughout the weekend include:
‘Funky Friday’ 21:00-Late: The amazing Hippie Club are reforming for one night only. Well known around the local area, lead singer Paul also fronts Felix & the funk, they will be promoting the charity fundraising throughout the evening.
‘Super Saturday’ 1200- Late: Local bands & artists playing between 12.00-20.00 doing sets of around 30-45 minutes each. No charge for entry but the Moonrakers team will be encouraging people to donate via the busking guitar case & various charity buckets around the pub.
'Farewell Sunday' 1200 –Late: Farewell to Bev & Pete, the final world-class Sunday roast with an open mic / jam session from 12.00-16.30, then from 17.00 the high octane party bands Mid-life Crisis & Sister-Sister playing out the final weekend in the pub for Bev & Pete. During the day on Sunday the big weekend raffle draw will take place, with some amazing prizes on offer, alongside a charity auction.
Craig Hutchesson, Paul Herbert (operation 77), and a couple of bands are already lined up for the jam session.
‘There is also a Just-Giving page that can be used to make donations. https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Moonies
A massive thank you to Sat Nijjar Owner of Cross Street Garage for sponsoring the event, Alan Holmes of Holmes Music for supplying kit, Brian Keen from Noyz-Boyz for the sound system, and finally all of the artists giving up their time.
Master brewer? Yes. And master chef too at Arkell’s 14/01/2016
Forget what you think you know about traditional beer tastes and flavours. They’re being challenged thanks to Wiltshire family brewery Arkell’s new ‘Flavour’ range which will be out across its estate of pubs from January-May this year.
Arkell's Flavour Range
It’s the brainchild of head brewer Alex Arkell, who is launching his new Flavour range with Strawberry Sensation, a 5% ABV golden-coloured ale with a dash of strawberry. It will be followed in March by A Tinge of Ginge (3.5% ABV with a suggestion of ginger) and in May by Vanilla Pod Ale, a 4.5% ABV ale with, surprise surprise, hints of vanilla. The Flavour range follows the successful launch of A Tinge of Ginge last year, when it sold out across Arkell’s pubs.
“Beer drinking is changing,” says Alex. “I’m always trying out new flavours and tastes when I go to the pub, as well continuing to drink my regular ale favourites. It’s a bit like having a beer with your best friend after being out with some new mates.”
Brewing new beer is no different to being a chef, he adds. “Why should Heston Blumenthal and Jamie Oliver have all the fun,” he adds. “Brewers don’t have to stick to the tried and tested tastes and flavours, there are so many exciting ways we can widen the beer drinking experience by adding a little bit of something unusual. It’s just like cooking.”
If you think Strawberry Sensation is unusual, flavours of chocolate have long been used in beer brewing. In the United States, a Los Angeles brewery created a beer using avocados. In Japan, following a surplus of milk, a drink shop owner created a milk-based beer. Closer to home, fellow family brewery Wells & Young created a banana beer.
Arkell’s Strawberry Sensation is made using Maris Otter barley, giving the beer a rich malty sweet foundation and two varieties of hops: Saars and First Gold. Chopped strawberries are added into the mash tun to bring a natural strawberry flavour to this sweet, refreshing beer.
Strawberry Sensation ale goes surprisingly well with steak and red meat.
Alex added: “If any beer can suggest better weather to come, it’s Strawberry Sensation: summer in a barrel of beer.”
Sell out Sir Noel completes a good season for Arkell’s 11/01/2016
Sir Noel Ale, Arkell’s regular seasonal ale flew out of the pubs over Christmas, completing a strong year for the Wiltshire family brewery as it expands and adapts its range of beers to appeal to the growing numbers nationally who are choosing to regularly drink real ale.
Alex Arkell and Sir Noel Ale
Head brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “We only just had enough supplies of Sir Noel Ale to last. As soon as we’d brewed it, it was on the drays and off into our pubs.
Sir Noel is a deceptively light coloured but 5% ABV ale named after Arkell’s head brewer Alex Arkell’s great, great grandfather. It was the final seasonal beer of the year for Arkell’s, which now regularly brews short runs of exciting new beers for customers to try alongside its regular ales known to its thousands of Arkell’s drinkers.
In 2015, Arkell’s brewed 24 different real ales, including regular favourites such as Wiltshire Gold, Bee’s Organic and 3Bs. It also brews a classic craft lager, 1843.
Back to school for Cirencester chef 25/11/2015
Cirencester’s Golden Cross Inn’s head chef Andrew Routledge thought he was going back in for detention when he was asked to visit Deer Park School but his fears were proved wrong when he was asked to put on a cooking demonstration.
Louise Parker a Home Economics and Catering teacher asked in to show her Year 10 GCSE students some of the skills necessary to work in a professional kitchen and Andrew was more than happy to oblige.
“I am not saying it was great to be back in school but was cool to share some of my knowledge and experiences with, hopefully the chef’s of the future,” he said. “The industry can appear intimidating and don’t get me wrong there are long hours but it can be great fun and you get to meet so many talented people.”
Andy showed them how to debone a chicken before taking a breast and leg to roast and serve on champ mash in a garlic, bacon and mushroom sauce. He then took questions from the many students, which he said was “scarier than getting married, which I did a couple of weeks ago.”
Get your skates on for Christmas at The George, Lambourn 24/11/2015
Customers at The George Inn at Lambourn will be able to get their skates on this Christmas when the pub hosts the first skating rink that the village has ever seen, on Friday 4 December.
It will be open from 1.30pm-9.30pm, offering half hour slots that can be pre-booked with the pub.
The skating rink is just one of the attractions being offered by the pub this year. It will also be holding a Christmas Fayre, also on Friday 4 December, from 2pm–7pm with stallholders selling unique, affordable gifts.
On Saturday 20, December Father Christmas will be appearing at the pub’s children’s Christmas party.
Pub landlord Oliver Taggart, said: “The George is right in the middle of Lambourn. It’s a great village and we love being the centre of its social activities too. We all love Christmas so we’re thrilled to host a skating rink. Why travel miles to the local towns when there’s just as much to do on your doorstep.”
Pub owners, Arkell’s Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “This is a brilliant idea from Caroline and the team. All our pubs offer fantastic Christmas menus and often seasonal activities, but I think this is the first time an Arkell’s pub has laid on a skating rink too. Now all I’ve got to do is to dust off my skates and we’ll be there on Friday December 4th”
To book a slot on The George at Lambourn’s skating rink on December 4th, you can visit the pub or call on 01488 73777.
Swindon’s newest hotel accommodation revealed at The White Hart, Stratton St Margaret 13/11/2015
Swindon’s newest hotel accommodation, a 24-room, £1.4 million investment by Arkell’s Brewery at The White Hart at Stratton St Margaret, Swindon, has opened.
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. The White Hart will open its hotel rooms to the public on Monday 23 November.
Room at the inn:
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson cuts the ribbon alongside George Arkell (r), James Arkell (centre), Landlady Lucy Hinton, Swindon Borough Council Leader David Renard and Swindon Mayor Andrew Bennett (l)
In June Brewery managing director, George Arkell, christened the new building with a bottle of Arkell’s Kingsdown beer after burying the bottle top in the final roof tile, assisted by Craig Morton, managing director of Swindon-based Edmont, the contractors building the hotel, and town crier and Arkell’s landlord, Rob Blake.
Solar panels on the new accommodation block roof which will deliver over 16kilo watts of energy into the hotel’s electricity supply, reducing its carbon footprint.
Good hotel room space in Swindon, particularly on the north side of the town, is hard to find and with The White Hart located right on the busy Oxford roundabout at Swindon, a major gateway to the town, the brewery anticipates these new hotel rooms being much in demand.
Arkell’s built The White Hart at Stratton in 1878, extending it substantially in the 1920s. Nearly 100 years’ later, the pub is still going strong.
Andy jumps back into The Carpenter’s Arms 12/11/2015
It’s taken him 13 years and two attempts, but Andy Moss has finally made it behind the bar at his favourite pub: The Carpenter’s Arms, Burghclere, owned by Wiltshire Brewery Arkell’s, and he’s thrilled.
“I’ve wanted this pub for years, but it doesn’t come up very often, so when the previous landlords Ian and Christine Chipperfield decided on a career move overseas I was determined that this time, the new pub landlord was going to be me.”
Andy has been running pubs for 15 years. His first pub was The Swan, just down the road from The Carpenter’s. Then he and his wife Julie moved to take over The New Inn at Heckfield, Basingstoke. They first heard the tenancy of The Carpenter’s was available twelve years’ ago, and applied. “We were unsuccessful, but only because Arkell’s instead asked us to run The White Hart at Whitchurch,” said Andy.
The couple ran The White Hart very successfully for nine years, before moving to Swindon and managing The Sun, one of Arkell’s highest profile pubs in its home town. “It was fantastic to help the brewery expand the pub, where we added a large accommodation block and built more business up around it,” said Andy. But his heart lay in Hampshire. The departure of the previous landlords (who are friends of Andy and Julie), gave him the opportunity to return home.
“My heart lies in village and community pubs,” says Andy. “And you can’t get a more community-oriented and friendly pub than The Carpenter’s. We have a strong community of local customers who support the pub regularly. It’s a great pub with a great vibe and my aim is to continue to provide them with a proper pub atmosphere and drive forward quality pub food.”
Arkell’s Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “Andy’s definitely come back to his publican roots and we’re delighted to finally be able to offer him his perfect pub.”
Arkell’s Brewery to host brand new Christmas market in 2015 05/11/2015
Wiltshire Brewery Arkell’s will be hosting a brand new event for the brewery, and for Swindon in 2015: A Christmas Market at its Kingsdown Brewery, Stratton, Swindon on Saturday December 12 2015.
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “Arkell’s Brewery is a magical place at Christmas and we want to share it with everyone to launch Christmas 2015. We’ve got the space and it’s a wonderful time to get everyone together.”
25 stalls have been booked by local and regional craftspeople keen to participate in the event. Stalls will include food, gifts and crafts, many of which made by local Swindon artisans and craftspeople.
The Christmas fair will be held in the grounds of the beautiful and historic Victorian steam brewery. Unlike during an Arkell’s beer festival, the brewhouse won’t be open to the public during the fair, Arkell’s brewing elves will be too busy brewing beer that week, but the grounds, including where the huge Arkell’s chimney stands, will host a wide variety of stalls selling Christmas gifts and goods, Father Christmas and his reindeer will be in attendance (The reindeer will be stopping by from 10.30-12.30), along with two fair rides and the Pegasus brass band.
Arkell’s is inviting independent stallholders to set up shop at the fair for one day only, selling their wares alongside the brewery offering other seasonal activities.
“Arkell’s Brewery comes alive at Christmas, probably more than at any other time of the year,” added head brewer Alex Arkell. “We’re brewing, bottling and delivering non-stop to ensure our pubs are fully stocked at one of their busiest times of the year and as soon as Christmas day is over, we’re back out there, delivering for the New Year Celebrations. So the atmosphere around the brewery is buzzing from November right through to January and we’re looking forward to sharing it with visitors.”
If the Christmas fair is successful, Arkell’s hopes that it could become an annual event for the town.
For further details or to book a stall, please click on the link below.
First a race, then a statue, now Cheltenham Gold Cup legend Arkle has a beer 19/10/2015
Cheltenham Racecourse will have a new beer on tap this year thanks to a new partnership between local brewery Arkell’s and the racecourse, which sees the brewery brewing a special beer and supplying the popular on-site bar, the Arkle bar, in honour of Ireland’s most famous racehorse.
Arkle Ale, like its namesake, is smooth with a well-rounded finish. With an ABV of 4% it’s a golden, auburn ale brewed in honour of the Cheltenham Gold Cup legend.
Arkle won the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times: in 1964, 1965 and 1966. Born in County Meath in 1957, the racing legend was named after a Scottish mountain. Along with his Cheltenham successes this amazing horse won many other major races and became a national hero across the racing world. The horse is widely recognised as the greatest steeplechaser of the post-war era and has a statue and a two-mile chase, the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy, dedicated to him at The Cheltenham Festival. Now he has his own beer too.
John Arkell at Arkell’s Brewery, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to celebrate our ‘almost’ namesake by teaming up with Cheltenham Racecourse this yea. We’re off to a flying start by supplying the Arkle Bar and brewing a fantastic new beer.”
Phil Roberts, Catering General Manager at Cheltenham Racecourse added: “Working with local suppliers is really important to us at Cheltenham, as we sit on the edge of the Cotswolds with a huge and diverse range of companies to partner with. We are delighted to be working with a local brewery that has a heritage almost as old as ours, and is as excited about great racing at Cheltenham as we are. We think Arkle Ale will be an odds-on favourite.”
Arkle Ale will be available on tap in the Arkle Bar at Cheltenham Racecourse at the first race meeting of the season, The Showcase on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th October.
The Fox & Hounds at Wroughton gets stunning investment 16/10/2015
A £50,000 investment in Arkell’s pub The Fox & Hounds at Wroughton has delivered a stunning new bar and restaurant for the growing village, offering a twist on the idea of a traditional country pub.
This is the fourth pub that landlords Darren and Vicky Turner have taken on for Arkell’s, the others being The King’s Arm’s Hotel, The Plough and The Clifton Hotel, all in Old Town, Swindon.
Regulars of The Fox & Hounds won’t recognise inside. Gone are the old style wooden floors and public bar format. Instead the large bar has warm carpets, comfy chairs, lots of tables and a wood-burning stove. The dining area has also been extended into a new building, part conservatory, part snug with a roaring wood burning stove.
There is also a new face behind the bar. Harriet Ravenscroft, 22, has just graduated from the University of Birmingham. “I’m thrilled to have landed such an amazing job,” she said. “The pub has got a lot of history, but it’s like running a brand new venue because it’s so different. We opened quietly last Friday and our first day serving food was today, and some people who live in Wroughton who came in over the weekend were also here this morning to have a good look.”
Early response to the transformation has been good, according to brewery managing director, George Arkell. “Such a radical change to a pub takes courage and conviction. Darren and Vicky had clear ideas about what to change in the pub. The result is fantastic. The Fox & Hounds at Wroughton is now truly an inn for all seasons. It’s warm and cosy inside in the winter and in the summer, there are incredible views from the gardens across the vale of Wiltshire.”
Fox and Hounds, Wroughton - more info
The Sun widens welcome for Badbury Park residents 16/10/2015
After four months acting as assistant manager at The Sun, Coate Water, Dan Brackenbury has taken over the pub reins from previous landlord Andy Moss who has moved on to run another Arkell’s pub near Newbury after five successful years at The Sun.
And with around 900 new houses currently being built almost next door to the pub on one of Swindon’s newest developments, Badbury Park, Dan is planning to help residents settle into their new homes by offering them a big welcome.
“A drink down the local pub is one of the best ways of meeting neighbours on neutral ground,” he said. “The Sun is the perfect place to do this as my passion is good service and a friendly welcome. We’ve also got the space, a large children’s playground and beautiful overnight accommodation for friends and relatives if your spare room is full of boxes after the move.”
The Sun is already one of Arkell’s, and Swindon’s, busiest pubs, but Dan thinks it hasn’t yet reached its full potential. “My challenge is to boost the mid-week trade and to adapt the menu to provide more of a restaurant offer in our conservatory as well as continuing our highly successful bar menu in the main bar and lounge.”
Dan is also looking to cater for local businesses by offering an ‘express lunch’ menu from 12-2.30pm during the week.
“Most offices have staff restaurants, but however good and well subsidised, many people prefer to get out of the office at lunchtime and have a quiet drink with friends and colleagues.”
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “Dan’s plans for The Sun are exciting. It shows that even a really successful pub can flourish if the landlord wants to think even bigger.”
Dan, who returned to his hometown of Swindon after working for another brewery in Brighton, actively targeted Arkell’s for a job. “I really like that they’re a family brewery in attitude as well as in name,” he says. “I have a family and was pretty determined to work for them. I’m really pleased that The Sun, which is the perfect pub for me, became available so soon after I started with them.”
Arkell’s Rugbeer kicks off the Rugby world cup 14/09/2015
With the 2015 Rubgy World Cup just days away, Arkell’s has produced a celebration beer to kick off a great sporting event.
It's all kicking off for Rugbeer at Arkell's
And while he admits he’s not a world class rugby player, head brewer Alex Arkell is hoping his Rugbeer is going to hit the spot with rugby fans across Wiltshire.
At 4.2% ABV, Rugbeer is a delicious, smooth and deep amber beer with strong hop notes that balance the crystal malt sweetness.
“It’s going to be a brilliant season of top class rugby and I can’t wait to enjoy the games with friends in my local pub,” said Arkell’s head brewer, Alex Arkell.
Rugbeer has been brewed as a session beer to help keep the rugby banter going during the two months of world class rugby being played on England’s doorstep.
Major investment at The Rickety Press 09/09/2015
After a major six figure investment, the award-winning Rickety Press pub on Cranham Street, Jericho, Oxford has re-opened. And landlords Chris Manners and Leo Johnson have revealed a big new social space for people seeking an attractive venue for morning coffee and cakes right through to last orders in the evening.
Chris Manners & Leo Johnson getting comfy in the refurbished Rickety Press
“Expectations about what pubs can provide have moved on,” says Leo. “People always deserve good food, but with the trend of eating out more often, people want more informality.”
What customers love, says Chris, is a big social space where they can please themselves what they eat, if they eat, when and who with, or just drink. “We’ve done away with our reservations book so that people can turn up whenever, stay as long as they want and eat a meal to suit them, whether that’s a weekend brunch, or a burger or salad in the evenings.”
The pub’s menu is still predominantly Italian, and Chris and Leo have installed a specially-made pizza oven into the pub’s kitchens. “I was inspired by a trip to Naples,” explains Leo. “We now buy all our pizza ingredients from Italian food suppliers. If we have an idea, we don’t do anything by halves.”
The Rickety Press is a long way from the run-down Radcliffe Arms, bought by its current owners, Wiltshire family brewery Arkell’s, in 2011. Then it was not only a failed pub, but a failed Thai restaurant too. Change its name, fast forward four years, with significant brewery investment and under experienced landlords Chris and Leo, who also run the phenomenally successful Rusty Bicycle pub on Magdalen Road (also an Arkell’s pub), the venue has blossomed to win awards and a loyal following of regular customers.
Following the refurbishment, Arkell’s brewery managing director George Arkell, said: “We’re delighted with the result of the new refurbishment. The Rickety Press is fresh and colourful inside and with its informal interior, we hope it offers customers a feel of home from home.”
It’s a family affair at The Duke, Hilmarton 04/09/2015
The Carroll family are singing the praises of their new pub after taking on the tenancy of The Duke, Hilmarton, between Lyneham and Calne.
Sean, Gail and Stephen Carroll outside The Duke, Hilmarton
Experienced licensees Stephen, Gail and their 28-year old son Sean, a qualified chef, have moved from their previous pub in Taunton to take on The Duke, owned by Wiltshire brewery Arkell’s, and they’ve got a long list of ideas to build this historic pub (which still boasts its old brewery buildings) into the pub of their dreams.
“We’re here to stay, because this pub has huge potential,” says Sean. “It’s not only about offering customers great food and drink. We’ve also got good quality hotel accommodation above the pub, and holiday caravan pitches in our adjacent field with fabulous views across West Wiltshire.”
But most of all, says Gail, it’s about good old-fashioned hospitality. “No matter what facilities a pub offers, hospitality is about personality and as landlords since 1992, we understand that. Running a pub will always involve long hours, but you can enjoy them more with a smile on your face.”
Stephen was in the British navy for 22 years, and the family spent two years in Hong Kong where Gail, who trained in business and accounts, worked as a civilian in accounts for the UK Government.
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “If you could pick a team to run a pub, Stephen, Gail and Sean would be it and we’re delighted they’ve taken on The Duke. With Stephen’s military background, Gail’s business experience and Sean’s chef qualifications, there is no better recipe for success.”
The family, which only took over behind the bar last Friday; have already thrown a barbecue for the village community. “We wanted to introduce ourselves properly, so what better way than to invite the neighbours around for supper,” said Gail. “They have been incredibly welcoming, which is wonderful, and we appreciate their support. It’s going to make a big difference as we settle in.”
For a pretty rural pub, the Duke at Hilmarton is one of the few that benefits from being on a main bus route on the A3102 between Chippenham and Swindon and there is a bus stop right outside the pub car park. From Monday-Friday Bus numbers 55 and 55a stop every 20 minutes during the day and every hour after 6pm until late evening. On Saturdays and Sundays it stops hourly.
Mighty Maris is Arkell’s latest barley-celebrating brew 24/08/2015
Following the launch last month of Perfect Promise, the first of a double-act of Arkell’s Brewery’s All Malt beers created to celebrate barley, head brewer Alex Arkell has revealed the second: Mighty Maris.
Barley is one of the four key ingredients of beer (the others being water, hops and yeast) and at 3.6% ABV, Mighty Maris is brewed using solely Maris Otter Barley malt in the grist.
This famous variety is considered a truly representative ingredient for authentic British beer. First grown in 1965, this year is its 50th anniversary and as part of this, Arkell’s has been asked to brew the beer especially for the national Maris Otter festival being held in Norfolk on September 18.
Maris Otter has an almost legendary status among brewers, with an incredible nine of the most recent 14 champion beers of Britain being brewed using malted Maris Otter barley, though less than 6% of British beer is brewed using the variety.
Arkell’s head brewer, Alex Arkell, was delighted to be invited to brew a beer for what he thinks is the first ever party dedicated to a variety of grain. “There are 50 new beers being created for the Maris Otter 50th Anniversary,” he said. “From 44 counties across Britain and six countries across the world. It’s going to be an amazing weekend.”
Brewers often select Maris Otter barley because of its brewing consistency and depth of flavour. Maris Otter is a low-nitrogen winter barley (sown in the autumn, harvested a few weeks before the Spring varieties), cross-bred in 1965 from two other varieties: Proctor and Pioneer, by the Plant Breeding institute in Cambridge.
Alex Arkell added: “Maris Otter is a quality barley which is often overlooked for other barley varieties grown for their increased yield and ease of production for the grower. I love brewing using it, and it will be great to compare Arkell’s Mighty Maris with the 49 other varieties at the Maris Otter Festival.”
Arkell’s celebrates new pub purchase at Ferndale, Swindon 17/08/2015
Arkell’s Brewery is delighted to announce the purchase of The Southbrook, on Southbrook Street, Swindon. The brewery is only the third owner of the pub since it was converted from a farmhouse into a pub some time during the mid 20th century.
George Arkell with Dave Kearns and Arkell's managed house controller Julie Moss
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “There are very few pubs like The Southbrook left, not only in Swindon but probably in the south of England. It sits within a strong local community drawn from the residential estates that have grown up around it since Swindon started to grow in the 1950s. It’s a proper town pub with pool and darts teams, and serving traditional pub food and real ales. It’s the sort of pub for which Arkell’s is known best in Swindon. We are thrilled to be its new owners.”
Arkell’s bought The Southbrook from Bob and Gina Downing who have retired after 27 years. The new landlord is 29-year old Dave Kearns, who has extensive experience of running pubs across Swindon and near Colchester, Essex. Dave has lived in West Swindon for most of his life.
“It’s great to get behind The Southbrook bar,” he said. “The pub is right in the middle of Ferndale and it’s got lots of space. We’ve kept on the staff, including our brilliant cook Tina who produces some of the best Sunday dinners in town. This is going to be a family friendly food pub.”
The Southbrook was originally a farmhouse, Arkell’s understands. “We’re told it became a pub when the farmland was sold off around it, and was first run by the farmer’s daughter,” said George. “We would love to know more about the history and urge local historians to get in touch.” There are two large bars and a very big function room at the back, probably where the old farm buildings were incorporated into the main house. This is often used as a pool hall but is also available for parties and events.
The locals have welcomed the new face behind the bar. “I took over last Friday,” said Dave. “The locals were very welcoming and so many came in that they almost drank us out of beer. It’s great to be part of the Swindon community.”
Arkell’s is on a Perfect Promise this month 30/07/2015
Arkell’s is on a promise, this month, as it launches its latest beer, Perfect Promise.
Alex Arkell inspected this year's barley harvest with Ed Horton of Poulton Fields Farm
Perfect Promise, at 3.6% ABV, is made from Golden Promise malted barley, making a light, clean and well rounded beer, perfect for this time of year.
Head brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “Over the last year we’ve been celebrating the individual ingredients in beer to encourage our customers to recognise the tastes and flavours which make up great beer. In recent months we’ve put hops under the spotlight, now it’s the turn of barley.”
Thousands of acres of the British countryside are planted annually with barley and many farmers are harvesting their crops now. Apparently there are more than a million hectares under cultivation with the UK producing around 6.5 million tonnes of barley, 2 million of which are used in the brewing and distilling industry.
Brewers use barley that has been malted. The barley grain is germinated under controlled conditions then dried in a kiln. The germination stage allows the development of enzymes that convert the grain starches into fermentable sugars which, when yeast is added in the brewery, turn to alcohol. The type of barley also contributes to the beer’s colour, body, flavour and head retention.
Alex said: “There are just four key ingredients in beer, the others being water, hops and yeast. We choose to use the best quality barley to ensure a delicious pint of beer. What better way to celebrate the harvest.”
About Golden Promise
Golden Promise is a spring barley variety grown predominately in Scotland. Its depth of flavour makes it very popular amongst brewers and it can be found in many well-known beers as well as some premium whiskeys. Arkell’s has not added any other cereals alongside the Golden Promise barley in order to accentuate the flavours. Next month the brewery plans to do the same with Maris Otter in a brew called Mighty Maris.
Arkell’s Moonlight glows Silver in the BBI Awards 30/07/2015
Arkell’s Moonlight ale has scooped a Silver award after the brewery entered the British Bottlers Institute (BBI) Awards for the first time.
Head brewer Alex Arkell is delighted. “This is a wonderful award to win,” he said. “The BBI supports the bottling industry, a big part of which is the bottling of beer and many of our fellow family breweries enter the awards so we’re not going to ‘bottle up’ our delight that we’ve come out with a Silver the first time of entering.”
In fact entries for the awards were up 25% this year, according to BBI president, Ed Binsted. “"With more companies entering this year the competition classes were bigger so the achievements of the winners should be commended. The competition this year had an increased number of entries in the IPA, cider, flavoured ciders and beers categories with all of the entrants scoring well."
The awards will be presented at the annual BBI dinner in London in October.
Arkell’s Brewery to host brand new Christmas market in 2015 28/07/2015
Wiltshire Brewery Arkell’s has announced that it will host a brand new event for the brewery, and for Swindon in 2015: A Christmas Market at its Kingsdown Brewery, Stratton, Swindon on Saturday December 12 2015.
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “Arkell’s Brewery is a magical place at Christmas and we want to share it with everyone to launch Christmas 2015. We’ve got the space and it’s a wonderful time to get everyone together.”
Arkell’s is inviting independent stallholders to set up shop at the fair for one day only, selling their wares alongside the brewery offering other seasonal activities.
Those interested in having a stall at this new event should register their interest via the Arkell’s website, www.arkells.com. Planning for the new Arkell’s Christmas Fair has already started and more information will become available throughout the year.
“Arkell’s Brewery comes alive at Christmas, probably more than at any other time of the year,” added head brewer Alex Arkell. “We’re brewing, bottling and delivering non-stop to ensure our pubs are fully stocked at one of their busiest times of the year and as soon as Christmas day is over, we’re back out there, delivering for the New Year Celebrations. So the atmosphere around the brewery is buzzing from November right through to January and we’re looking forward to sharing it with visitors.”
New landlady finally gets her name above the door 24/07/2015
The new landlady at The Jovial Monk, St Andrew’s Ridge, Swindon has been behind the bar for two years. Now she’s celebrating her name being above the front door too.
Debbie Young has taken over the license at The Jovial Monk after joining the pub as a part time barmaid two years’ ago. “I started working on Sunday lunchtimes and one evening a week, but I loved it so much that my hours grew. When the previous landlord decided to move on, I jumped at the opportunity to take over. This is an amazing pub in the centre of a great community.”
The Jovial Monk was built and opened by Arkell’s Brewery in 1999, to support the northern expansion of Swindon at St Andrew’s Ridge. The community is now expanding again as around 400 new houses are being built across the road from the pub.
That’s OK with Debbie, though. “More houses means more customers,” she says. The new residents will find themselves in the centre of a ready-made local community, with the pub at its heart.
In fact Debbie wants the pub to become home to lots more local groups, from the local WI to yoga or other exercise classes. “We’ve got a huge conservatory which I don’t chanre community groups to use. There’s no community hall at St Andrew’s Ridge, but The Jovial Monk is as good as a village hall.” Debbie has also re-established the pub’s pool team and is now calling for locals to come forward and set up a darts team.
Debbie has lived in Swindon most of her life. Born in Hampshire (her father was in the army), the family travelled around the world before returning to Swindon, where her mum’s family were based. “I trained as a nurse, and in fact working behind a bar funded my studies in the early days,” she said.
“I love running The Jovial Monk. It’s the only proper pub this side of Swindon. Here you can come in, watch the football, see your mates and have a laugh.”
Debbie will be doing Sunday lunches and pub food at The Jovial Monk from September.
Swindon Honeybee Conservation Group undertakes important bee research 03/07/2015
Arkell’s Brewery is preparing to roll out its multi-award-winning Bee’s Organic as a permanent keg beer. Head brewer Alex Arkell took the opportunity to visit Swindon Honeybee Conservation Group at a secret location near Swindon where the group, a team of six, are undertaking important conservation research. They hope to learn more about why their bee colonies are not adversely affected by a bee mite called Varroa which has killed millions of honey bee colonies across the world.
Alex Arkell with Swindon Honeybee Conservation Group founder Ron Hoskins
The Varroa is a blood-sucking mite that lives on the blood of the baby bee, causing Damaged Wing Virus. This virus prevents bees flying. Most beekeepers use chemicals to try and control mite numbers, but chemicals do have an adverse effect upon the adult bee, at the same time allowing the varroa that are not destroyed to become stronger.
The Swindon Honeybee Conservation Group has not used chemicals for 20 years and has been selectively breeding bees able to groom varroa mites and uncap breeding cells in order to remove larvae under attack from varroa.
Arkell’s head brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “I had a fascinating morning talking to Ron Hoskins, founder of the group, about the group’s bees and we would dearly love to use local Swindon honey in our Bee’s Organic. However, we are audited every year by the Soil Association which has strict criteria and currently we are required to source our organic honey from further away.”
Ron, who is 84 years’ old, but looks 20 years younger, has been keeping bees for 72 years. The group runs at least two training courses every year for amateur beekeepers.
Arkell’s Bee’s Organic in keg is available in most Arkell’s pubs now. Organically-grown malted barley, hops and, unusually, organically-produced honey are used in the brew. These give this golden premium ale a light, fresh taste with the organic honey providing a delightful and surprising flavour.
Brewery shouts from the rooftop at The White Hart, Stratton St Margaret 02/07/2015
Swindon’s newest hotel accommodation, a £1.4 million investment by Arkell’s Brewery at The White Hart at Stratton St Margaret, Swindon, is now watertight after Brewery managing director, George Arkell, ‘christened’ the new building with a bottle of Arkell’s Kingsdown beer after burying the bottle top in the final roof tile.
Rob Blake, the Fairford town crier, George Arkell and Craig Morton celebrate 'topping out' at The White Hart, Stratton St Margaret
On hand to help was Craig Morton, managing director of Swindon-based Edmont, the contractors building the hotel, and Rob Blake, a local town crier and landlord of another Arkell’s pub, who rang his bell to announce the achievement from the top of the scaffolding.
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. The White Hart will open its hotel rooms to the public in the autumn of this year.
George Arkell, said: “The build is going really well and we’ve also installed solar panels on the room which will deliver over 16kilo watts of energy into the hotel’s electricity supply, reducing its carbon footprint.”
Good hotel room space in Swindon, particularly on the north side of the town, is hard to find and with The White Hart located right on the busy Oxford roundabout at Swindon, a major gateway to the town, the brewery anticipates these new hotel rooms being much in demand.
Arkell’s built 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 to maintain standards and provide customers with the warm welcome they expect,” said George. “Over half our pubs now offer accommodation, and this build provides increased facilities for visitors to Swindon and the surrounding area.
“We were delighted to be able to celebrate the ‘topping out’ of The White Hart with our town crier landlord Rob Blake.”
Watch our latest video on Kingdown Ale here 19/06/2015
Kingsdown was relaunched as \'special\' to commemorate Swindon Town Football Club’s 1969 League Cup final when the football club triumphed over the mighty Arsenal.
Here is the video link: https://youtu.be/15HQ7oE24S0
It’s been brewed regularly from 1976.
Watch our latest video on 3Bs 12/06/2015
Head brewer Alex Arkell talks through the quality, ingredients and taste of this perennially popular deep amber coloured beer. A classic English best bitter and easy drinking session beer. 4% ABV.
Take a selfie for father’s day and win a meal for eight 09/06/2015
Arkell’s Brewery is celebrating Father’s Day on June 27 by inviting families to post ‘selfies’ on Twitter @Arkellsbrewery or Facebook of fathers with their sons and daughters inside or outside an Arkell’s pub, using the hashtag #arkellsdad.
George, Alex & James Arkell take a selfie!
All you need to do is to take a ‘selfie’ with your dad, or for dads – with your kids, and tweet it to Arkell’s Brewery @ArkellsBrewery, or share it on our Arkell’s Brewery Facebook page using the hashtag: #arkellsdad, before enjoying a drink or a meal. Everyone participating will be in with a chance to win lunch for up to eight members of the family, including two rounds of drinks, at selected Arkell’s pubs up to the end of July. Simple terms and conditions apply.
Arkell’s Brewery has been a family brewery for over 170 years, and currently James Arkell is chairman with his sons George Arkell, managing director and Alex Arkell, head brewer. But it’s not just the Arkell’s family that work there, generations of local Swindon families continue to work alongside them. It’s a real family affair at Arkell’s!
Arkell’s pays tribute to Germany beer by brewing Bock Beer 03/06/2015
Germans love lager as much as us Brits love beer. So Arkell’s head brewer Alex Arkell didn’t take much persuading to brew a tribute German lager beer to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Swindon’s twinning with the German town of Salzgitter, making any German visitors to Swindon feel quite at home.
And because Alex doesn’t do anything by halves, he made sure that the beer has an impeccable pedigree. “I love the challenge of brewing a new beer for a particular event,” he says. “And as I did much of my brewers training in Munich before coming back here to take over the brewing operation, I not only love German lager, I know a lot about it too.”
Bock originated as a German style of lager, along similar lines as pale ale or IPA began their lives as British styles of brewing. Bock originated in Einbeck, near Saltzgitter Northern Germany (south of Hannover), in the thirteenth century as a dark, sweet, malty lager and was quickly taken up by the Munich brewers who couldn’t get enough of it. The trouble was, being hundreds of miles from Einbeck in southern Germany, and it being the thirteenth century when their version of the German language was probably as different to their northern neighbours as Swahili is to Scottish, they just couldn’t get their mouths around the word Einbeck, so called it Ein Bock and the beer became simply Bock Beer for short.
Arkell’s Bock Beer is brewed from lager yeast, fermented for a month with dark caramel toasted flavours coming from the malt, and very little bitterness with a velvety smooth light finish. At 4.2% ABV it’s also unusual for being a dark larger, when most modern lagers are light in colour.
And in another play on words, bock means Billy goat in German so it is common for German brewers to depict a Billy Goats head in their Bock beer designs, and Arkell’s has incorporated this into the design.
Alex invited George Arkell to The Sun Inn at Coate Water, Swindon to taste the beer alongside some proper German food, along with landlord Andy Moss and his wife Julie.
The team sampled bock beer alongside chicken schnitzel, pickled gherkins and sausages. And the unanimous outcome: The sausages won hands down. “The heavy use of caramelised malts in the Bock Beer really brings out the cooked flavours in the sausage,” said Alex. “As it happens, Bock beer should be the perfect accompaniment to anything grilled, such as summer barbecues.”
Arkell’s Bock Beer is available in cask from June 2 at most Arkell’s pubs.
Arkell’s invests over £1/4 million in village pub 02/06/2015
A major investment by Arkell’s proves that the village pub is not dead. Just three weeks after planning permission was granted, the diggers rolled into the Masons Arms at Meysey Hampton, near Cirencester, to begin a £300,000 extension and refurbishment of a pub that, just five years’ ago, was shuttered up after the previous owners left.
The pub will benefit from a brand new, purpose-built kitchen and a new toilet block. The old landlord’s cottage, for years housing a cramped kitchen and small restaurant adjacent to the main bar, is being opened up to provide a lovely new dining space. The Masons’ eight letting bedrooms will also be refurbished and the main bar will undergo a full redecoration.
Brewery managing director, George Arkell, said: “Within our estate, Arkell’s has a substantial number of village pubs and we have proved time and again that with the right investment at the right time, they can be a roaring success. We are delighted to be investing in this lovely pub and are working closely with our landlord, Paul Fallows, to give the village the pub we think it deserves.”
Building will take place during the summer, but the pub will be open throughout, according to Paul: “The redevelopment will go on around us but we’ll be open for business as usual even during the all-important Air Tattoo weekend in July, when we’ll halt the work for a few days to cater for the large number of visitors who come along to watch the air displays each year. We’re also on the hunt for a new chef to head-up our brand new kitchen.
“It’s going to be a busy but exciting few months for us, and for the village who have eagerly supported us since we took over just six months’ ago. We’re grateful for their support and to Arkell’s for the brewery’s investment.”
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.
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.
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!
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.
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, 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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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’.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.”