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Swindon's oldest firm celebrates 175 years in business

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Alex Nick George and James ArkellAlex Nick George and James ArkellArkell’s Brewery, Swindon’s oldest business and one of just 29 old family breweries left in the UK, is celebrating 175 years in business this year.

The brewery was established in 1843 as an offshoot to the family farm near Swindon, at the same time as Isambard Kingdom Brunel was building his Great Western Railway. Arkell’s beers helped quenched the thirst of workers in the hot locomotive works.

Swindon’s historic railway works may have closed in the 1980s, but Arkell’s Brewery continues to thrive, with four members of the Arkell’s family currently at the helm: chairman James Arkell; his cousin Nick Arkell, head of sales, and James’ sons George and Alex Arkell are managing director and head brewer respectively.

The Arkell family work at the brewery alongside generations of other local families, brewing real ale and looking after nearly 100 pubs across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire.

The brewery is already planning a year-long celebration, including a Beer Festival at its Kingsdown Brewery, on 15th September as well as its now annual Christmas Market, scheduled for 1st December 2018.

Kicking off the celebrations, in January the brewery will be announcing an exciting new development at Kingsdown Brewery site. More details will be revealed soon.

James Arkell said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be celebrating our 175th anniversary. It’s an incredible achievement for everyone involved in the brewery and in our pubs.

“Arkell’s pubs sit at the heart of our local communities and we thrive on maintaining that close link with our customers. They are at the heart of everything we do, and everything we brew.

"It’s that personal, individual connection that makes a family brewery such as Arkell’s as essential in the social-media driven world of the 21st century as it was in the 19th century when my great-great-grandfather John Arkell began brewing.”

Arkell’s ales include award-winning beers such as Wiltshire Gold, 3Bs, Kingsdown and Hoperation. The brewery also brews an award-winning lager: 1843.

Special ales are brewed regularly, with head brewer, Alex Arkell, keeping the art of craft ale alive, offering drinkers new tastes and flavours.