ALMOST a thousand pints were sold on the first day of the sixth Glue Pot beer festival.

The brainchild of Railway Village landlord Jonathan Crisp, scores of drinkers headed to the traditional Emlyn Square boozer to enjoy a pint of real ale under baby blue skies.

Beer-lovers came from miles around to sample the 21 real ales and 12 traditional ciders.

Now something of a Swindon pub institution, Jonathan “JC” Crisp, hasn’t always run worked the bar at the Glue Pot – despite what some younger real ale fans might think.

The former soldier, distinctive in his beard and bandana, established the pub’s beer festival six-years-ago.

“When I first started working in this pub, I was running it for another landlord. Easter weekend was always the quietest weekend of the year. That’s why we started doing this. Now, it’s the busiest weekend of the year,” he told the Swindon Advertiser.

“What I enjoy most about the festival is getting to try all the different beers. Most of the customers who come in enjoy it for the same reason.

“That’s rewarding, because as a pub we are in the pleasure business.”

By the end of the Friday night, the first day, the Glue Pot had sold 858 pints.

“It was a Good Friday,” JC joked.

Proving most popular was pale ale Jarl, by Scottish brewery Fyne Ales. JC said: “It was one of the first ever citras, before they got popular.”

The landlord said the ciders were also selling well, describing them as “proper ciders, from the cask, with no bubbles”.

While the beers were a draw for many drinkers, the sun helped tease festival-goers to the pub: “The beer festival has always been popular, but the weather’s made it extra special.”

JC added: “Real ale is still a growing market. Even though it’s been going for so many years.

“It’s the original pub beer. But it’s currently a growing market. New people are finding real ale exciting, because there are so many different flavours. Each beer has its own style. It’s become really quite fashionable.”

Unlike many landlords, JC used to drive a tank - rather than a bar.

He was a tank commander with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, before leaving to run pubs. He arrived at the Glue Pot in 2008 and has been licensee for the past five-and-a-half years.

“There’s not much call for killing people in civvy street. I had to find another vocation,” he said of his career switch.