Monday, 24 February 2020

Farewell to Tap Room ... for now

A MICROBREWERY in Henley hosted a farewell gathering for loyal customers.

Lovibonds’ Tap Room in the Greys Road car park closed on Sunday but the owner is hoping to find a new location.

The bar is having to relocate because the building’s owner, David Fitz-John, wants to convert it into flats.

In 2017, a community campaign was launched to protect the building, which was supported by residents and councillors.

However, South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, granted permission.

Lovibonds onwer Jeff Rosenmeier said it was “the end of an era”.

He added: “As you may or may not know, when we first took on this property, we had no intention of becoming a bar.

“But it soon became obvious that we had a venue unlike anything else in Henley and it gave us a great platform to share our passion for craft beer.

“We grew the space organically over the years as funding and demand saw fit and we ended up attracting a great community of like-minded individuals.

“We became the best live music venue in Henley, giving opportunities to hundreds of local and international musicians.

“We gave up our space freely to dozens of charities, helping to raise a staggering £300,000.”

Mr Rosenmeier said the business now has a state-of-the-art brewery at Friar Park Stables, near Badgemore, and he hoped to start a programme of tours.

He said discussions were taking place with several landlords in Henley for “the next iteration” of the Tap Room.

Mr Rosenmeier moved to Henley in 1996 and decided to turn his passion for brewing into a profession, leaving behind his career in software engineering.

He started his business in 2005 at the former home of John Lovibonds & Sons, which established a branch in Henley in 1916.

One of the first microbreweries in the UK, Lovibonds opened a tasting room in 2007.

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