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Family ties

On 11/09/13 by David Wilson (Director of Public Affairs)

I had the great pleasure of visiting the Arkell’s Brewery in Swindon last weekend for an open day and beer festival to celebrate their 170th anniversary. I have always had a strong affinity with Arkell’s having been born and bred in Swindon myself – in fact my Junior School was downwind of the brewery stack and family and friends have worked there throughout my life.

In a packed brewery yard, complete with wonderful vintage cars, steam engines and motorbikes, I was delighted to bump in to a former school friend, Robert Mercer – we were in the school recorder group together! Robert has been brewing at Arkell’s since we left school 32 years ago – like his father and older brother before him.

The festival was a brilliant showcase of beers from pretty much all of Britain’s family brewers and demonstrated the collaboration and mutual support that characterises our industry. I particularly enjoyed the new Arkell’s UK Cascade single hop beer, one of a new exciting range introduced by new Head Brewer, Alex Arkell.

I would go as far to say that Arkell’s are loved in the town and the villages around Swindon. They are the oldest surviving business in the town – a living embodiment of the British love for beer and pubs and of a family business managed for the long-term with a strong commitment to their workforce and the community.

Some would call it old-fashioned, but this is one way of living and working I hope never goes out of fashion. As the next generation of Arkells help to shape the beer and the pubs to cater for modern tastes I hope the company can look forward to many years of future success.


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