Oak Taverns is planning to install microbreweries at seven of its pubs following the opening of one at the Cross Keys in Oxfordshire.
The firm bought the pub in Thame from Punch Taverns in July for an undisclosed sum, after running the pub under a tenancy-at-will agreement since January.
Managing director Simon Collinson said the current economic climate meant the firm received no help from the banks when it came to funding the purchase.
Instead it has drawn funding from a new private arrangement, and has finance in place for another freehold. Based on the success of these two pubs, Collinson plans to buy a further six freehold pubs within a one-hour radius of the group’s Thame headquarters.
“We are good at running wet-led pubs and cask beer, so we decided to explore the craft-brewing option.”
He said the brewery will supply the Cross Keys, and added that new microbreweries could be built onsite at the proposed new venues.
Oak Taverns operates 25 pubs including 12 freeholds, nine Enterprise Inns leases, two from Admiral Taverns and two from Greene King.
Thame Brewery’s real ale Mrs Tipple’s Ghost, named after a previous licensee, will be unveiled at the Cross Keys on Saturday 14 November, when the first pint will be served to Radio 2 personality Ken Bruce.
Licensee Peter Lambert said: “During the nine months since we’ve been here, we have gone through 350 different guest ales, all of them from micro-breweries.
“Having never brewed beer before, I am learning fast.”
Gemma McKenna is senior reporter at BigHospitality's sister magazine and website The Morning Advertiser www.morningadvertiser.co.uk