Tap Social Movement grew out of a passion for good beer and social justice.
Tap Social Movement was founded in 2016 by Paul, Amy and Tess. Having experience in a range of positions across the criminal justice system, we have all witnessed the difficulty people face when trying to turn their lives around after coming into contact with the law. There is a lack of support and assistance available to navigate complicated career pathways, and criminal records often dissuade employers from hiring otherwise eligible candidates. Many of the people we have worked with, especially those who have spent time in prison, struggle to access education, training and employment, hindering their rehabilitation, and drawing them back into a life of crime. But having worked closely with many people who have been through the system we know that there is so much talent and potential that is going to waste. Tap Social Movement was founded in an attempt to stop this vicious cycle by providing opportunities which set people up for long-term fulfilling employment.
Whilst we all have different experience and qualifications (Paul is an independent criminal barrister and university tutor; Amy is currently undertaking doctoral research in criminology and Tess is a bachelor of commerce grad with craft beer bar and retail management experience), we share a passion for social justice and wanted to create a space where people from all walks of life come together to share skills and talent, exchange ideas and experiences and create new opportunity, particularly for those people who have had contact with the criminal justice system. We all had a keen interest in craft beer and had been homebrewing, and with Tess’s industry knowledge, we realised that the rapidly growing craft beer industry presented a really exciting opportunity to create something huge. Craft brewing is a young, social and vibrant industry in which people are proud to be involved; it involves practical but skilled work; and it requires technical, transferable and highly marketable skills. Speaking to as many breweries as we could confirmed our idea: brewers are the most helpful, open-minded and awesome people and we couldn’t imagine a better environment to begin breaking down barriers and creating something new and exciting. When we first pitched the idea to the prisons, we were really excited by how receptive they were to it – there is a real need for new employment and training opportunities for people who are in custody.
We bought a 1000L brewery, got a premises in an amazing location in Oxford and were joined by Jason, an award-winning brewer from the US and long-time friend Matt, an economist and accounts wizard. And most importantly, they share our passion for great beer and social justice.
And off we went!
Jason started developing awesome recipes including American pale ale Goodsize eh?, Grebe’s Procession, a roasty oatmeal stout, and some exciting sours. We developed our brand around prisoner artwork with the help of the amazing team at One Ltd. design studio. And we spent several months transforming our space from a disused industrial unit to a brewery and welcoming community space with a taproom and homebrew area.
We have worked closely with several prisons whose staff and inmates have shaped our direction and ethos. We have developed exciting work experience and training programmes in brewing and business start-up for people currently serving prison sentences. Our programmes, which launched in February 2017, are an opportunity to work closely with our dynamic team to develop new skills, learn about setting up and running small business and to get real work experience in an engaging and fast growing industry. As we grow, all full time employees will be taken on from our training cohorts. We also offer one-on-one support in securing permanent employment, including help with CVs, interviews and career planning to anyone who trains with us. And we work with other breweries and businesses to find permanent placements across the brewing industry and in related sectors.
In addition to our brewery, our premises holds our taproom and bottle shop which are open to the public and available for event hire. Starting soon, we will be offering brewing courses where individuals and groups of any size can learn how to brew and take home their own beer.