High Sheriff of Wiltshire visits Arkell’s Brewery to celebrate their remarkable anniversary milestone


This year, Arkell’s Brewery are celebrating a very special anniversary; 180 years of continual brewing at the original site founded by John Arkell in 1843.

The family brewery is one of the UK’s last remaining fully operational Victorian tower steam breweries and is situated in Kingsdown, Swindon. 

Arkell’s are marking their 180th anniversary with a number of activities throughout the year, but have kicked off the celebrating by inviting the High Sheriff of Wiltshire, Fiona Shelburne, The Marchioness of Lansdowne into the old brewhouse to help them brew a brand new celebratory beer.

Alex Arkell, Head Brewer and sixth-generation of the Arkell family took the High Sheriff on a tour of the town’s oldest surviving business and gave an overview of the traditional brewing methods put in place by his ancestors that are still used to this very day.  The High Sheriff helped mash in; an important early step in the brewing process, setting underway the new celebratory brew – ‘Tradition’ 3.4% ABV.

Arkell's Tradition beer

Alex said: “We put together a recipe blending some old and new ideas, the beer is an easy drinking deep red session beer with a warming fruit biscuity base, this comes from using Rye which was often used in our old brew books. We’ve then rounded this off with a hop aroma of mango and peach which I don’t think you’d have seen much of 180 years ago. A perfect blend of old and new!” 

The beer is available on cask in participating Arkell’s venues from Tuesday 7th February.

Following the brewhouse tour the High Sheriff of Wiltshire unveiled a commemorative plaque. Managing Director, George Arkell said “It is an honour to have this visit from the High Sheriff and share with her the great heritage of our family brewery.  We are extremely proud of both our family history and our traditional methods of brewing.  Onto the next 180 years, Cheers! “

The visit concluded in the Arkell’s Grape & Grain Wine & Brewery Warehouse where the High Sheriff met members of staff and viewed the archive centre on the upper floor.  The Grape & Grain was opened to the public 5 years ago by Her Majesty The Queen Consort (formerly HRH The Duchess of Cornwall).

A selection of special activities are planned for 2023 during the breweries 180th year, these include an ale trail competition around Arkell’s pubs, weekly brewery tours for the public starting in February, and a Big Birthday Bash in September with live music and lots of beers to sample.

Photo Richard Wintle