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Head brewer Andy Weaver with Evolution Trial 1 and Toby Bartholmew with a pint of 6X 100th anniversary edition

Crowds gather at Wadworth to celebrate 100th anniversary of flagship pint 6X

The Brewery Tap visitor centre at Devizes brewer Wadworth was packed on Tuesday (December 5) as the firm celebrated the 100th anniversary of its flagship beer, 6X.

A familiar name to anyone who has visited Wadworth’s 150 pubs, a special edition of the pint has been brewed to celebrate.

Andy Weaver, who has been head brewer at the family-run firm for 23 years, showed Business Biscuit the historic ledger in which the first reference to 6X – dated 5 December 1923 – was recorded, and told us how he had sourced ingredients as close to the 100-year old recipe as possible to create the six per cent ABV brew.

To the delight of Business Biscuit, he described the flavour of the celebration ale as ‘biscuity’. At six per cent the anniversary edition is stronger than it has been since its earliest days.

The outbreak of the Great War led the government to control alcohol consumption, with Lloyd George – then Minister of Munitions – telling Parliament: “We are fighting Germany, Austria, and drink; and, as far as I can see, the greatest of these deadly foes is drink.”

Rationing and supply issues during the Second World War led the strength to fall to 4.3 per cent. It is currently 4.1 per cent.

Fifty barrels of the 100th-anniversary edition have been brewed – enough for 576 pints, although some has been bottled for sale in limited-edition gift boxes.

The anniversary party was also an opportunity to sample the first craft ale made at the company’s new Folly Road brewery – over the road from the current Victorian brewery.

Evolution Trial 1 is a 4.3 per cent Session IPA, with “oodles of citrus,” which should prove popular in the warmer spring and summer weather.

The new set-up at Folly Road enables the firm to brew in smaller batches, meaning Andy can experiment with different beers while keeping traditional ales like 6X flowing.

Managing director Toby Bartholomew – an accountant before becoming the fifth generation to take the reins at the family business – reckoned half a billion pints of 6X had been brewed over the past 100 years.

He said it was a “huge day for Wadworth,” noting that “not many breweries had cask beers that had lasted as long.”

Next year will see the completion of the operation to move brewing completely from the 138-year-old red brick brewery to the new multi-million pound, state-of-the-art facility – a move that Toby said showed the firm’s commitment to brewing beer, and to the town of Devizes.

And in 2025 Wadworth will celebrate its 150th anniversary.

Pictured: Head brewer Andy Weaver with Evolution Trial 1 and Toby Bartholomew with a pint of 6X 100th anniversary edition

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