Oxford Couple Might Bring Microbrewery Franchise to Quarter Barrel Site

By Rebecca Huff

Books & Brews, a microbrewery and reading emporium chain based in Indianapolis, hopes to soon have a franchise pulling pints and selling books in Oxford, according to a project summary submitted to the city’s Community Improvement Corporation.

If city council approves a $63,000 start-up loan from the CIC Revolving Loan Fund (RLF), the new operation will soon move into 107 East Church St., the site left vacant when Quarter Barrel Brewery and Pub suddenly closed on Jan. 3. Books & Brews makes its own beer and encourages quiet pursuits, according to a statement on its website.

Five craft beers are part of the operation: Nancy, Clifford, Charlie, and the Chocolate Stout, Cream and Punishment, and Shogun Soba Ale. Along with providing signature craft beers, franchise owners Ann and Neil Kamphaus will brew their own beer, according to the city’s project summary.

The Oxford couple, was not available for comment on Thursday. According to their application, the $63,000 covers about half of the estimated franchise start-up costs and will go towards remodeling the kitchen and dining areas, creating new signage, updating the brewing equipment as well as the point of sale system.

The RLF exists for startup businesses that can’t produce all of the financing on their own. The city has over $500,000 available in the RLF for startups that qualify, said Alan Kyger, the city’s economic development director.

“My office does offer the RLF Program to prospective business owners when I meet with them. Not all businesses qualify, nor do all businesses need RLF assistance,” Kyger said, who also serves as executive director of the Community Improvement Corporation.

The CIC recommends that the city approve the funding for Books & Brews, he said. City council will meet to make its decision at its March 19 meeting. The loan would last seven years at 3 percent interest.

“I would fully expect the city council to approve this,” said Kyger. “It is the type of business the city likes to see. Even though it’s a franchise, it will be locally owned and locally operated.

“Having local unique owned shops is a real plus. It gives our town some additional character,” he said. “We want to encourage local ownership and local involvement.”  Currently four Oxford businesses that have loans from the RLF: Patterson’s Café, Hush Intimate Apparel, MOON Co-Op, and Root Yoga.

The Community Improvement Corporation looks for businesses that align with Oxford’s economic development goals. According to Oxford’s Comprehensive Plan, that goal is for the city to have “diverse businesses, local services, and employment opportunities.”

The microbrewery will also have a literary-themed food menu and sell new and used books. Ten percent of book revenues will go to a cause in Oxford. Community events will also be hosted at Books & Brews such as trivia, bingo, open mic night and more activities designed to bring people together.