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Duchess helps brew her own beer at Swindon brewery visit

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The Duchess at Arkells BreweryThe Duchess at Arkells BreweryHRH The Duchess of Cornwall took part in the brewing process during a visit to Arkell's Brewery today (Tuesday, January 30).

The brewery – Swindon's oldest firm and one of just 29 old family breweries left in the UK – is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year.

In honour of the visit Arkell's brewed The Duchess Ale, made using Plumage Archer barley from Prince Charles’ Highgrove Estate near Tetbury.

During her visit, the duchess helped to 'swing the valentine', which controls the the flow of wort – liquid extracted from the mashing process during the brewing process – from the mash into the underback.

It is an essential part of the brewing process at Arkell’s, and the Wiltshire brewery is believed to be the only one in the country which still has a swinging valentine.

She also met staff and shareholders, and unveiled a plaque to officially open the brewery’s new shop and heritage centre, The Grape and Grain, which will sell The Duchess Ale from February.