Each new tanks can hold 7000 pints and had to be lifted into position in the first-floor fermenting room of the Victorian brewery.
It was the idea of head brewer Alex Arkell, who studied brewing in the United States and in Munich, Germany.
He said:”There is a change in the industry at the moment. Keg, filtered beer sales are up against the more traditional ales which we are known for.
“While we are still selling and making great volumes of our cask ales, we are seeing a tremendous growth in our new beers and specifically our keg lager. We are able to brew a very good lager using Cotswold ingredients but to meet demand and future-proof the brewery we’ve made this great investment.”
The new tanks will also aid the production of Voyager, the new pale ale. It relies on late hopping to get that ‘American style’ and is a “recipe and flavour for the new drinker,” Alex added.
Voyager, is inspired by a 19th Century Arkell who was a farmer by trade. Times were hard in British farming so he upped sticks and voyaged to the uninhabited plains of Canada to build a new farm and a new life. He returned to the UK in 1833 and soon after built the Victorian brew house, now home to the new tanks.
Alex explained: “Voyager was first released only in bottles last year, another area of brewing we are seeing a rise in popularity in. This could be for a number of reasons and I think the lockdown added to the interest as we were all drinking from bottles and cans. We were operating a delivery service during this time and were inundated. The beer was so popular we made the decision to brew it on draught as well, and so far, it’s been as much of a hit in the pubs as it was at home. The new fermenting tanks are an investment in our brewing capabilities and will enable us to become future-proof so that we are still here in another 175 years.”
This traditional brewery has not let the pandemic damage its ambitions. In June, the family brewery signalled its confidence in the pub sector by breaking ground on a brand £4 million new pub at Tadpole Garden Village, North Swindon. The pub is to be called ‘The Strawberry Thief’ and is scheduled to open in 2022.
At the time brewery director George Arkell said: “We’re really excited to finally be starting this project and it’s wonderful to have our MP along to formally commence the work. It has been a long and very challenging year for us all and it is fabulous for us to be able to look forwards not backwards. The Strawberry Thief is the biggest project we have undertaken in years. The Tadpole community have been really supportive and encouraging as it has taken a long time to actually start construction on site. We are immensely proud to be investing in Swindon; it’s our home town and we can’t wait to see the build take shape and evolve into a fantastic neighbourhood pub.”
Unveiling the name ‘The Strawberry Thief’, George Arkell explained how it was a nod to a William Morris textile design from 1883, which features the thrushes that Morris found stealing fruit in his kitchen garden of his countryside home, Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire.
The William Morris theme runs through Tadpole Garden Village with street names and the school named after the famous British textile designer.