15/01/2019 - A toast to travel

Nottingham's Castle Rock Brewery is making a special stout to mark 100 years of Skills Coaches


Arthur Skill, a 19 year old Nottinghamian, owned a fish lorry.   The year was 1919, and with the early morning rounds completed, Arthur found that more could be made of it carrying people to work - and so began Skills Coaches, the Nottingham based travel company that since those pioneering days has carried hundreds of thousands of travellers and holiday-makers to destinations across the UK and Europe.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the firm, and celebrate this remarkable young man and his achievements, Nottingham's Castle Rock Brewery is making 'Arthur Skill', a 4.2 per cent coffee stout; their first Nottinghamian Celebration Ale of 2019. 

Nigel Skill, the company chairman and Simon Skill, finance director, are the founder's grandsons.  Their sons, Tom and Rupert carry on in the family business.

Nigel says: "My grandad was quite a character, and it's a joy for all of us in the family to carry on his ideals of service and quality. I couldn’t be more proud to see how far the Skills Group has grown as a local Nottinghamshire based company since my grandfather founded the business in 1919, and it’s an honour to still be a part of that journey today with my brother Simon and our great friend, Pete Hallam, by our side. In the year Skills celebrates its 100 years it’s a delight to be able to raise a toast to Arthur, as well as our friends, family and loyal customers who we’d be nothing without.”

Lewis Townsend, who manages the Nottinghamian Celebration series, says: "For Arthur Skill's stout, we're going on an interesting trip with an ale that incorporates lactose, in the form of milk sugar, and locally roasted coffee.  The resulting beer will be coffee-led, with extra body and depth of taste from the lactose and malt, and a hint of bitterness from the hops.

"And it’ll be fresh, as Simon and Rupert have added the roasted beans directly into the brew as it matures," he says.

'Arthur Skill', the ale, will be the 34th in Castle Rock’s celebration series.  It will be followed in 2019 by other beers for Nottingham and Nottinghamshire women and men who’ve done their bit in the performing arts, football, and science.

Castle Rock's Nottinghamian Celebration Ales are brewed to promote interest and conversation in the native and adopted sons and daughters of the city and county.  There are four a year and the ales are available at pubs across the East Midlands, and south Yorkshire. 

By Graham Percy

Skills brewery(l-r)   Simon Skill, Arthur’s grandson (left) and great-grandson Rupert, with brewer Dan Gilliland (centre) as the coffee is added