Banbury's Lock29 announces craft beer maker as new anchor tenant

Lock29 at Banbury's Castle Quay Shopping Centre welcomes anchor tenant with a new bar operator called Tap Social.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 10:37 am
Updated Thursday, 13th May 2021, 3:14 pm
Lock29 at Banbury's Castle Quay Shopping Centre welcomes anchor tenant with a new bar operator called Tap Social.

Tap Social a craft beer and hospitality social enterprise with a mission to provide training and employment opportunities for former offenders, has been confirmed as the latest arrival to the Lock29 venue.

Since launching last August, Lock29 has continued to grow its independent food line-up and will now welcome Tap Social as its new bar operator and anchor tenant.

As Lock29 expands, and with Castle Quay Waterfront continuing its journey to its first phase of opening this Summer, Banbury’s historic canal is set to become a hive of activity in the coming months.

Lock29 at Banbury's Castle Quay Shopping Centre welcomes anchor tenant with a new bar operator called Tap Social.

Due to officially launch on Thursday May 20, Tap Social will be serving up a selection of IPAs, pale ales, lagers and stouts, all brewed locally at its base in Oxford, from its new home at Lock29. The arrival of Tap Social will be followed soon after by the opening of the new Lock29 external seating area.

Tap Social is the brainchild of its founders, all formerly employed within the criminal justice system, who saw an opportunity to make a positive impact on society while capitalising on the craft beer boom that is sweeping the UK.

As a social enterprise, it aims to break the cycle of reoffending by helping employees get back into meaningful work and develop valuable new skills. In sparking conversations about the problem of reoffending that prison creates, and the importance of employment in breaking the vicious cycle of criminality, it is working to create long-lasting social change.

Since it was founded in 2016, Tap Social has increased its brewing capacity tenfold, expanding into a second brewery, and its award-winning beer is now stocked in over 250 pubs, restaurants and shops.

As the social enterprise continues to expand with Tap Social at Lock29, it recently opened the White House community café, bar and kitchen in Oxford city centre, while its other new venue, the Market Tap in Oxford’s historic Covered Market, is yet to open.

Tess Taylor, founding director of Tap Social Movement, said: “Our whole ethos is based on creating an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere, built around community, which made Lock29 the obvious choice of location for our latest venture.

"Lock29’s commitment to working with amazing, local independent businesses to create an authentic community hub really appealed to us and it’s great to see how this space is being rejuvenated to bring new life to Banbury.

“We love craft beer and recognise we’re not alone in that – so we’re excited to bring more interesting beer to Banbury through Lock29, where we’ll also be featuring some funky guest beers for people to try alongside a good range of other drinks on the bar. Offering something for everyone, our passionate team is committed to ensuring every guest is left satisfied.”

Chris Catford, manager at Lock29, said: “Lock29’s line-up of independent and local focused businesses has helped to create something new that is completely unique to Banbury.

"Working with interesting and exciting brands will play an important part in our evolution and the arrival of Tap Social will really help to cement Lock29 as a leading destination for visitors from Banbury and further afield. The concept is really interesting and they have an amazing product, which we believe will be a huge hit with local people and visitors.

“Our priority continues to be the safety and wellbeing of our customers and retailers, and we look forward to welcoming everyone, when permitted.”

The new venues will capture the spirit and ethos of the original Tap Social brewing site, rated Oxford’s number one nightspot by TripAdvisor, which welcomed hundreds of weekly visitors before the pandemic.

The new venue at Lock29 will build upon a winning formula of great beer and vibrant community spaces, all aimed at making society a better and fairer place.

The venue re-opened last month in line with the latest Government health guidelines, with the latest additions to the Lock29 family - Pequeno Gringo, Bowkay Designs and A Little Bit of Pie - all trading at Lock29 for the first time.