Finding the Right Brewpub Location
Today we are going to talk about finding the right location for your Brewpub. As you probably know, Augustino Brewing is currently looking for our home away from home, the place that we will spend all sorts of time during the morning hours when we’re serving coffee and beer, and during the evening hours when we’re serving coffee and beer. Our team has been going through a lot of struggles and hangups trying to find this magical place that we’re going to call home and invite in our community members to enjoy along with us. If you happen to be out there having similar issues with locating a high-end Brewpub, this is the episode for you.
One of the most important things is to examine the population and demographic issues related to the areas that you’re looking at. For us we’re looking for individuals that are higher income as a general rule. We want also individuals who have an infinity for craft beer, who enjoy going out to eat at restaurants and maybe are a little bit picky in terms of the food and drink that they want. A specialty aspect for us is that we’re also reaching out to those who are maybe looking for a slightly lighter fair and maybe a little more diversity in terms of menu items and are usually expected in a Brewpub. This is a way of setting us a little bit apart away from some of the other breweries that are in the area. Something that sets us apart as a Wichita brewery.
If you are also trying to open up a Brewpub, you need to keep this into consideration for your operation as well. There is a website that can help you with coming up with your demographics for your Brewpub and give you an idea of what you’re wanting to do in terms of location for your craft brewery, and that is going into ESRI data. Just type in those letters and to Google search and you’re going to find that. Takes a little bit of getting use to, more than what I can get into in this short of a Podcast, but I would highly recommend going there. Another source of good information in terms of trying to locate a Brewpub is contacting the Brewers Association. They’re the organization that specializes in working with breweries that are already open as well as those that are in the process of opening. Please reach out to them as well.
Another major consideration that you have is of course the types of beers you’re planning to serve, because the type of beer that you’re planning to serve, especially if you’re also serving beer as many Brewpubs do is going to be critical in terms of how you’re operations carry out. Also, as your menu changes, what kind of changes you have to your menu. One of the things that has surprised me over the years here in the Wichita market is that there are really very few, if any menus that do any pairing of beers with food items. I think that this is a real lacking thing in the Wichita market and I think in a lot of markets as well. You want to give a lot of thought to your beer and your food, because as it has been said to me before, craft beer sells craft food and craft food sells craft beer. This is same as true with craft coffee is going to sell some of the food items for us during the morning hours in particular, but also in the late evening hours we expect that those pairings are going to be important as well.
You want to give some thought to the type of beers that people really want to drink. Right now, the two big areas of growth, actually three big areas are high-end and diverse IPA’s, India pale ales. There is also a growth in the sours and those type of beers. Then the third area that has seen some significant growth are the beers that are involving other ingredients. Other fruits in terms of what we typically talk about as far as craft brewing around the home-brew side is the spice herb vegetable category. If you’re talking about competitions and this is a category that utilizes interesting adjuncts to enhance or alter the flavor of a base-beer. In addition, sort of a sub-set to this is the coffee beers. Coffee beers are kind of a type of adjunct, emphasized beer that takes a base-beer, often times a porter stout and adds some coffee into it to create really a nice roasty robust flavor for your beer. That’s certainly an area that we’re going to be looking at for some of our beers as well.
Although our plan is to not be a one-trick-pony in that area, and we will certainly have a diversity of beer which I would recommend that if you’re considering opening up a Brewpub, you need to have that as well. Otherwise you’re going to be lacking in terms of reasons for people to come back to your Brewpub. Another thing that’s really important, this has been a sticking point for us as we have been looking at locations for our operations, as that you need to keep the cost of your lease in your build-out as cheap as possible. A mentor of mine has indicated to us as we’ve heard some pretty high numbers in terms of our build-out cost that really what you need to be looking at is limiting the number of walls that get built.
You can do this a couple of ways. Literally, just keep as open of a space as humanly possible on your Brew-house. One of the things that I see in a lot of breweries is full walls put up, enclosing their brewing areas. This creates two issues. Number one, it creates the issue of blocking off the brewery from the restaurant area. Part of the reason why many people go to a brewery is because it’s a brewery. They want to see the brew-house and they want to see where the brewing is going on. What we’re going to do is try to keep that brew-space as open as possible, while still maintaining safety of that area.
There are some restrictions that are in place at the Federal Government level in terms of what you can do and what you can’t do as far as a brewing space. But, they’re actually fairly open in terms of how you enclose that space relative to the rest of your operation. For our purposes we’re going to try to keep that as open as possible and as easy to see what’s going on as possible, because really the Brewpub is part of the show for a brewery. I highly recommend you think about that. By limiting the number of walls, you also help to limit the number of contract hours for your contractors that are needed to help build out. All of those hours really add up and in a lot of respects the labor cost are more expensive than the physical cost of doing stuff. When you can do your own work, you should always do that as long as you have the time to do it. Another thing to think about there.
Lastly, and this is something that we’ve struggled with as we’ve been looking for spaces as well. You really want to think about how the layout of either a built purchased or leased space is laid out before you consider signing any paperwork on a location. You have to ask yourself a couple of questions as you’re thinking through this. Number one, you want to think about creating the right atmosphere and what the right atmosphere is going to be for you, because that will determine your lighting that’s going to determine your seating, it’s going to determine the décor and you want to consider all of those factors when you’re looking at a space.
Another thing that’s really key and something that we’ve been thinking of is making or not making the brewing itself a part of the show and a part of the experience for people who are guests at your Brewpub. In our case, we do plan to make in part the brewing part of the show. We’re not exactly sure how that’s going to transpire yet, but we believe that people come to breweries for the beer and for the experience at a brewery. These are all things that are worth considering when you’re trying to find a location for your Brewpub. I want to thank you for listening and have a fantastic day. We’ll be back with more Podcasts in the future and we’ll keep you updated as we’re getting ready to open our doors too. Thanks.