A NEW pub proved very popular as punters gathered to sample a range of award-winning local beers.

Enstone-based Oxbrew opened its first 'micropub' in a former Sobell House charity shop in Langdale Court, Witney on Saturday.

The grand opening had to compete with day two of Witney Music Festival for custom, but the pub was packed from midday until last orders at 11pm.

Oxbrew's Simon Scamp, who runs the pub alongside his step-son Aaron Baldwin, revealed the big day could not have gone any better.

He said: "It was full all day and even then there were still people trying to get in.

"A lot of our brewer friends were in attendance, but most people had heard about it from somewhere else.

"The noise of people talking and enjoying themselves was enormous and the place was alive."

The new venture is Oxfordshire's fourth micropub, with others in Banbury, Wallingford and Carterton.

The concept allows a small company to experiment while keeping costs lower than if they took on the running of a traditional pub.

Mr Scamp, a sign-maker, came across the concept when he was commissioned to create a sign for a microbrewery in Kent.

The brewer was intrigued by the idea and previously explained this would enable Oxbrew to develop the pub without outside influence.

He said: "We could have taken on a pub but this gives us the freedom to put our own mark on a place and we've designed it from scratch.

"It's a different way of doing it - we are completely independent and can do whatever we like."

Oxbrew is based in a modest unit on Enstone Airfield, but the brewery is well known throughout the county for its award-winning beers.

Mr Baldwin is Oxford born and raised and has spent the last few years researching, experimenting and refining a range of beer styles.

He benefits from the experience of Mr Scamp, originally from Kent, who has been brewing on a small scale for 20 years.

With a speciality in cask ales and keg beer, the duo have brought their produce to plenty of festivals and outdoor events but this is their first permanent base.

They gutted the former charity shop and installed a cold room, kitchen and new furniture, with the pub seating 30 inside, plus a front courtyard.

Saturday showed an impressive transformation as customers filled the modern space to enjoy a selection of Oxbrew's own beers and those from other breweries.

Mr Scamp said: "There will be peaks and troughs and obviously it helped that the first day was a Saturday.

"Sunday was a bit slower but we had a nice flow of people through the door.

"We sold one glass of wine but otherwise everyone wanted to try the local beers."

With brewers in Freeland, Church Hanborough and Oxford, Oxbrew's beers are produced within a few miles of the pub.

The venue will be open from midday to 11pm, Wednesday to Sunday to allow Oxbrew to prepare the week's offering on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The new pub aims to cater for all ages and Mr Scamp was pleased to see both young and old in attendance on Saturday.

It will eventually serve food but at first the duo will focus on the drinks offering and Mr Scamp is determined to ensure the new venture does not fall flat.

He said: "There's only a certain amount we can do because it's essentially a two-person show.

"We're going to do everything we can to make it a success."