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21st March 2024

Arkell’s Brewery Unveils ‘Honest John’ Nitro Best Bitter: A Tribute to Tradition and Innovation

Arkell’s Brewery proudly introduces its latest creation, ‘Honest John’, a 4% ABV Nitro Best Bitter that combines the beloved characteristics of cask beer with the convenience of a keg tap. Named in honour of the brewery’s pioneering founder, John Arkell, ‘Honest John’ embodies the innovative spirit that has defined Arkell’s for over 180 years.

Inspired by the legacy of their visionary founder, who embraced steam technology during a time of innovation, Arkell’s Brewery continues to push boundaries in the brewing industry. ‘Honest John’ pays homage to this tradition by combining the unique soft texture of a cask conditioned ale, and the morish, caramel-toffee flavours of a best bitter, all poured gently though a keg tap.

Perfect for clubs, bars, restaurants and hotels where cask beer is not an option due to its limited shelf life, this new beer is filtered and uses nitrogen gas which prolongs the life.  The nitro best bitter gives smaller outlets who like the principle of cask ale, but have space constraints, a lack of cellar cooling or do not open full time, the opportunity to serve a best bitter.  ‘Honest John’ is available now in 30 L kegs for purchase directly from the brewery, as well as in participating pubs for those excited to enjoy it on tap.

Alex Arkell, Head Brewer, commented on the beer, “Honest John was the name by which our founder was affectionately know locally.  He was an innovator who embraced steam technology when building his brewhouse, at a time when steam was the new kid on the block!  You could call him the original steam punk!”

The unveiling of ‘Honest John’ was marked by Mayor of Swindon, Councillor Barbara Parry, who poured the inaugural pint whilst visiting Arkell’s Brewery.  Reflecting on her experience, Cllr Parry expressed gratitude to the Arkell family and their dedicated team for their hospitality during her visit and commitment to preserving Swindon’s heritage.

“I had the absolute pleasure of visiting Arkell’s Brewery and was truly inspired by the passion and dedication of the Arkell family and their team” Cllr Parry remarked. “Their commitment to traditional brewing methods and their contributions to the local community make Arkell’s Brewery a true Swindon treasure.”

Arkell’s is Swindon’s oldest business and remains a beacon of craftsmanship and innovation in the brewing world. With ‘Honest John’, they invite beer enthusiasts to embrace the best of both worlds: the time-honoured craftsmanship of traditional brewing methods while harnessing a modern nitro best bitter.

For those eager to experience the legacy of Arkell’s Brewery first-hand, tours are available, offering a glimpse into the rich history and heritage behind each pint. Visit


From left: Alex Arkell (Head Brewer), Cllr Kevin Parry, Mayor of Swindon Cllr Barbara Parry, George Arkell (MD)  

Notes to Editor: For further info. contact: Helen Ryan at Arkell’s Brewery on 01793 823026, 07972 155 303 or email

Arkell’s Brewery was established in 1843 by John Arkell. Arkell’s is Swindon’s oldest business, and one of just 29 family breweries left in the UK.  Arkell’s has 181 years in the brewery business and has four members of the Arkell’s family still remaining at the helm: Chairman James Arkell; his cousin Nick Arkell, Head of Sales, and James’ sons George, and Alex Arkell are Managing Director and Head Brewer respectively.

The Arkell family work at the brewery alongside generations of other local families, brewing real ale and looking after nearly 100 pubs across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire. Arkell’s ales include Award-winning beers such as Wiltshire Gold, 3B, and Hoperation IPA. Special ales are brewed regularly, with Head Brewer, Alex Arkell, keeping the art of craft ale alive, offering drinkers new tastes and flavours all hand crafted in their brewery.

For further info. contact: Helen Ryan at Arkell’s Brewery on 01793 823026, 07972 155 303 or email

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