Exbusinessmen to form brewery

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A new micobrewery is to open in Oxfordshire after its founders decided to escape the rat race.

Former IT consultant Russ Taylor and business partner Gareth Xifaras, a former PricewaterhouseCooper business consultant, are assembling their new brewery in a barn near Thame.

When the first beers flow in October, XT Brewing will joining a growing list of 20 county microbreweries.

Mr Taylor, 42, said: “We have both been brewing at home for a few years now, but were in industry with corporate jobs, and about two years ago decided we did not want that sort of life any more.

“We wanted to use some hands-on skills, we both had an enthusiasm for brewing, and we both love our beer.

“I have been learning the trade at the Windsor and Eton Brewery since then, and we have been looking around Oxfordshire at sites to open our own brewery.”

They have now taken out a lease on a farmyard barn near Long Crendon, Thame, to start their project. Equipment will be installed next month.

Mr Taylor said: “We want to appeal to more youthful demographic than the usual real ale crowd, and push it more to people in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

“We want to follow some of the American microbreweries, that do not have the history to hold them back.

“We want to be more adventurous with some Belgian and American style beers, and push the boundaries a bit.”

Microbreweries have continued to thrive in Oxfordshire despite the recession.

Shotover Brewery set up in 2009, Loose Cannon Brewery in Abingdon opened last year, and more pubs, including The Swan in Faringdon, have opened their own brewplants.

This year’s Cask Report, backed by real ale breweries, revealed that while pubs are still closing over Britain, 3,000 more pubs in the country are serving real ale than last year.

Tony Goulding, from Oxford Campaign for Real Ale, said: “We have more breweries in the country now than at the end of the Second World War.

“As the big breweries scratch around with their interpretation of real ale, the microbrewery scene has taken its place.

“With the craft breweries, a whole greater range of tastes, flavours and styles are on offer as opposed to standard bitters and milds. Many are available in Oxford pubs.

“It is a change we would never have dreamed of 10 years ago.”