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26th March 2012

Sheila James, Marston’s Visitor’s Centre Supervisor and Head Tour Guide, is to retire on 30th March after 37 years’ service.

She’s been working at Marston’s Brewery on Shobnall Road in Burton-on-Trent for twenty-seven of those years, running up to three tours a day around the famous Victorian Brewhouse, the bottling plant, cooper’s shop and the Burton Union rooms and can almost recite the tour details in her sleep!

She said: “It has been such a privilege to work here in this historic brewery. We draw water for the beer from our own on-site wells; we have one of the last few working coopers in the country still making barrels; and we still brew our famous Marston’s Pedigree ale using the traditional Burton Union method – a fermentation method that was synonymous with Burton-on-Trent in its brewing heyday – and our Union sets are unique in the world! It’s something that we, as a town should be extremely proud of.”

In those years she has shown a few famous visitors around the site including Brian Clough, Matthew Hoggard and even the Duke of Kent but she’s keeping quiet about who sampled the most beers on their return to the Visitor’s Centre bar. She adds: “In the early years we used to let visitors stay and sample as many beers as they liked after the tour and many had arrived on coaches, so you can imagine how much fun they had!  We’ve only ever banned five groups from ever coming back!”

Taking over the reins from Sheila will be Meryl Jackson who is looking forward to her first challenge at the brewery beer festival and family fun day day on 21st April to celebrate St George’s Day.

Anyone who is interested in booking a tour at Marston’s Brewery or going to the Beer Festival and Family Fun Day can call 01 283 507391. The tours costs £6.50 per head and includes two pints of Marston’s beer. Groups of 10 or more can also book food at additional cost. The Beer Festival and Family Fun Day will cost £5 per adult ticket and kids can go free.