AS 2018 draws to a close, Swindon's most well-known brewers reflect on the past year and dare to look ahead to see what the future holds for the pub trade.

Arkells Brewery, founded in 1843 by John Arkell, owns more than 90 pubs in Swindon, Wiltshire and beyond.

The brewery pumps out more than 10,000 barrels of beer every year - equal to around two million pints of beer.

Head brewer Alex Arkell told the Adver how local drinkers' tastes have evolved.

"From our perspective we have seen a big resurgence of keg beer, and that's been off the back of the move towards craft beers nationally," he said.

To celebrate 175 years since Arkells started, the team launched its Pioneer IPA which uses New Zealand hops - harking back to the family connection to and spread across the country in the 19th century.

"That IPA has been really popular, it's got a much more interesting range of flavours than our other keg beers used to, I think those beers will be our biggest growth for the next year," said Alex.

Managing director George Arkell added: "People are now willing to try more adventurous beers than they ever used to. We can bring out more specialist beers and do more fun stuff and give it a go, which is lovely."

Proximity to the brewery is also a factor in what drinkers go for, helping them stick to some of the old favourites.

"All the people that live in the shadow of the brewery in Stratton only want 3Bs, because that's what they've drunk all their lives, the closer they are the more 3Bs they drink," added Alex.

The Akells brand seems especially well equipped to quench the thirst for authenticity in today's pub trade.

"Pubs have been faced with some difficult times, " said George, "but people now want to know the provenance of what they consume, and they want to get quality ingredients.

"Going to the pub is also something tangible, you can't go to the pub on the internet.

"It's that whole dynamic; bumping into people and talking, chatting to the bar staff, queuing up to order, that's the whole point.

"It forms a large part of our social life, if we lost that we would have lost something really important."

The Arkells brothers remained steadfast in the face of new challenges that might threaten the health of the pub trade. In particular, Britain's exit from the EU on March 29.

"The thing about about having such a long running business is we have been through two world wars, recessions, and the wall street crash, " added George, "and we have weathered them all."