ONE OF Hampshire's best-known breweries is throwing opens its doors to the public today to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Ringwood Brewery was established in 1978 and is holding a birthday party with a 1970s theme to mark its four decades in the industry.

The event at its headquarters in Christchurch Road, Ringwood, will include a beer festival, tours of the premises and a chance to admire brewery shire horses.

Visitors will be able to sample Seventy Eight - the brewery's 40th anniversary ale.

Last Tuesday the first brew was delivered to one of Ringwood's best-known pubs - the Inn on the Furlong - as part of the birthday celebrations.

A spokesman said: "Ringwood Brewery was granted its licence on February 1 1978 and just a month later brewed its first batch of beer.

"Little did the founder, Peter Austin, know that the smell of hops and malt would still be permeating the air around the town four decades later.

"In that time, an incredible 220 million pints have been brewed and the quality and consistency of the beer has won them many accolades over the years.

"So it seemed only fitting to celebrate with the launch of a new beer in the brewery’s flagship pub in Ringwood.

"The Inn on the Furlong has been a Ringwood Brewery pub since 1984."

The delivery was made by Head Brewer Jeff Drew, who is also celebrating 40 years in the industry. The beer arrived in a liveried Bedford Truck and was then rolled into the pub before being served up for an official tasting and toast to the brewery."

Today's party is taking place between 1pm and 7pm, with 1970s music provided by Phil Lowen.

Food served by Appetite for Adventure will include dishes from the same decade.

Prizes will be awarded for the best fancy dress. Entry is free.