Russ Taylor of XT brewing on this year's Oxford Beer Week, May 4-12

Oxford is a fascinating city with a rich history in industry and education.

The making and drinking of beer has been a significant part of that history ever since the very first monks set up home here more than a thousand years ago.

Up until the beginning of this century large parts of the city west of the castle were devoted to the making of beer and there were more than 350 pubs in the city centre alone.

Read again: Oxford Beer Week 2019 - what's new this year

Times change, fashions come and go, and beer has seen a significant resurgence in popularity in recent years.

There have been a growing number of new breweries across the country investing and innovating with beer and broadening its appeal to a much wider audience.

Oxford is no exception to this increase in the popularity of new ‘crafted’ beers.

In and around Oxford there are a great many independent, new and well established breweries working to bring you a wide choice of sophisticated beers.

Read again: Oxford pub reopens after £70,000 revamp

But, as with many small businesses getting their lovely artisanal products to you, the willing consumer is often tricky with many barriers to market in the way.

Fighting back against the ever increasing grip of large brewing and pub groups, several of the local brewers joined forces to form the Oxford Brewers Alliance.

The alliance was formed in 2014 as an informal group of independent craft breweries based in and around the city of Oxford.


The aim of the group is to raise awareness of the great beers that are being brewed but often not getting the exposure that they deserved under the shadow of large international brands and restricted access to the pubs in the city.

Some of the alliance members have invested in city pubs to gain more exposure for their beers, including the Castle, Paradise Street; Plough, Cornmarket; Tear Drop, Covered Market and Royal Blenheim, St Ebbes; or brewery bars including Tap Social.

Each year in May since 2017 the group has also been running the Oxford Beer Week to help promote locally produced beers across the city.

Read again: City pub hosts charity beer festival

The beer week is a series of events such as food and beer matching, beer festivals, promotional evenings or even comedy nights in pubs and other venues to showcase the amazing range of locally produced beers.

For 2019 the beer week has grown and now also includes: The Big Event.

This is a new kind of beer festival; the brewers will have a ‘street market’ layout with each producer creating their own brewery bar staffed by the very people who make the beers.

Giving a much more interactive feel so drinkers can learn about the origin of their beers and learn a little about who makes them and where they come from.

Read again: Five of the best Oxfordshire restaurants – and what we thought of them

There is an ever growing interest in understanding the provenance of food and drink these days.

It is important to understand that what you eat or drink is made with the best ingredients and with a care for the environment which we all share.

Giving people the ability to meet with their local brewers and learn about their products is extremely valuable and of course, very enjoyable as well.

This year’s Oxford Beer Week runs from May 4 to 12 and includes the Big Event on Saturday, May 4 at TOAD Distillery.

See for more information and tickets.