In 1827, an idyllic Cotwold Watermill was bought by Thomas Arkell but it wasn’t until 1865, when Richard Iles Arkell started brewing beer alongside the farming enterprise. They have been brewing there ever since.
Richard first sold his beer to the gentry in the hunting field, although as some of them had small breweries on their estates it must have taken time to build up a solid customer base, and of course his beer must also have been very good! Today, the mill wheel is still used to drive small pumps and machines 150 years on, producing Donnington’s traditional beers by much the same recipe that has always been in use.
Until the mid 1960s, the brewery grew its own barley and malted it on a special malting floor which is still in existence today. Today the maris otter malt is bought from trusted growers in Norfolk and is still milled at the brewery. The hops come from Herefordshire and Worcestershire and the water is drawn from a natural spring beside the millpond. It’s only the sugar which is imported.
Donnington Brewery flourishes today and is still owned and run by the Arkell family. Considered one of the prettiest breweries in England and its beers are a fine example of classic English brewing.