Wiltshire Brewery Arkell’s is delighted to announce that it has acquired The Fox and Hounds at Haydon Wick in Swindon and The King’s Arms Hotel in Malmesbury, both purchased from Enterprise Inns. The brewery paid market price for the pubs.
The Fox and Hounds is a lovely country pub that first opened around 1840. No longer in the country, as Swindon’s western expansion began surrounding the village some 30 years’ ago, The Fox and Hounds retains a rural feel and is well-supported by the local community.
The King’s Arms is Arkell’s first acquisition in the historic town of Malmesbury. With twelve letting rooms, two bars, a restaurant and a function room for up to 120 people, this pretty hotel offers lovely overnight accommodation and a warm welcome.
According to James: “The licensed industry changes all the time, and breweries and pub companies must too. We’ve always known this and adapt our estate of pubs accordingly, that’s why we’ve been in business for over 160 years, just like the majority of fellow family brewers across the country who understand the licensed trade better than anyone. People want more from pubs than just a great pint of beer and someone to chat to – those are essential. Good food is important for every licensed premises and a small country town hotel should be friendly and cosy with room for a good party.”
Over the last six years, Arkell’s has made a number of significant investments in pubs and hotels across the region. In 2006 it bought The Bear Hotel in the centre of Wantage, significantly upgrading the bars and accommodation to make The Bear into a thriving town centre hotel.
In 2007 the brewery bought the 16th century 26-bedroom Lansdowne Strand Hotel in Calne, and the following year it purchased the iconic Riverside Inn at Lechlade, next to the most up-stream marina on the Thames and where, earlier this year, David Walliams began his incredible Thames charity swim.
In 2009 the brewery turned its attention back to pubs and bought The Mason’s Arms at Meysey Hampton. Earlier this year it bought a closed Oxford pub reopening it as The Rickety Press. The pub, located at Jericho, is once again thriving.
Alongside new investment, the brewery continually invests in its estate of pubs, with this year investing a six-figure sum in The Bull Hotel, Fairford, which the brewery has owned since 1973.
Pint-sized History of Arkell’s Brewery
At 168 years old, Arkell’s Brewery is one of just 28 family breweries left in the UK. The Brewery was established as an offshoot to the family farm when Isambard Kingdom Brunel was building his locomotive and carriage works for the Great Western Railway. Beer from Arkell’s helped quench the thirst of workers in the hot, humid environment of the railway works. Whilst Swindon’s historic railway works closed in the 1980s, Arkell’s is still going strong, fulfilling the demands of today’s workers.
Three generations of Arkell’s family work at the brewery every day, alongside generations of local families, brewing real ale and overseeing over 100 pubs the brewery owns across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire. Arkell’s continuously invests in its pubs and the brewery, recently installing bottling equipment, fermenters, conditioning equipment and a kegging unit to brew Pilsner lager. Full-bodied real ales include 2Bs, 3Bs, Kingsdown and Bees Organic Ale. Specials include Summer Ale, Noel Ale and Moonlight. Moonlight was brewed in secret in 2004 commemorating Chairman Peter Arkell’s 80th birthday and his RAF 1943 pilot missions flying low level sorties collecting agents in occupied France under full moon, later in Burma. Peter Arkell passed away in 2010.