How Your Brewery Can Become the Center of Gathering

A part of the reason Joe Short started Short’s Brewing was because he was enamored by the role of the historical taproom and it’s significance in helping shape the community.

“Most all early settlements had a pub, tavern and/or brewery that was more or less “the public house” where significant discussions and community happenings took place,” he said. “I always felt that Short’s pub could emulate the role of pubs/breweries in helping shape a community.”

Short said it was actually written into the original business plan for the Bellaire, Michigan pub: to be a pillar of the community and make beer for the local people.

“It’s grown just as the business has,” he said. “It runs parallel with the reach of our beer.

“Our community has taken ownership and pride in our business just as we have the community.”

Many breweries across the country try to emulate the role of being a gathering place for the public. Brewer asked some on the ways that they try to ingrain themselves into their community and the roles they try to serve.

Hunter Smith, founder of Champion Brewing: As a neighborhood-based brewery in a small town, it’s critical for us to stay aware of and an integral part of our community. We celebrate local wins, and suffer its heartaches. This summer in Charlottesville (Virginia) gave our community plenty of heartache and anxiety. We engaged by offering our community alternatives to taking part in demonstrations that could be, and were dangerous. Smith worked with others to found Unity C’ville, producing a concert of peace and unity held the same day and time a KKK rally was being held just blocks away. During the nation’s largest gathering of white supremacists, held in Charlottesville on August 12, we held a celebration of the arts with Art in Action and Black Lives Matter in our taproom, and offered a haven for safety during that terrible day. Our leadership is civic-minded and supports equality: our staff fully buy into those values. We hope that’s one reason people choose Champion when they buy our beer or visit our locations.

Sam Pagano, Brewmaster of City Steam Brewery: While larger regional breweries are starting to finally feel a crunch in sales, most smaller, localized taprooms still thrive. We depend on their consumption, so it’s always good to give something in return for their patronage. We were the first functional and successful brewery in downtown Hartford for years, and one of the earliest craft breweries in the state of Connecticut.  Being a restaurant and brewing our own beer has made us a staple of the central Connecticut scene as well as a common gathering for business people on lunch or happy hour, events, conventions as well as the recently erected Dunkin Donuts Park home of the Hartford Yard Goats, a Double-A MLB affiliate. This is our 20th year, so thankfully any resistance from the community far under-weighed the support.

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