Not Always the Same Formula: How Zipline Differs its Taprooms

​Adding a taproom is becoming an old habit for Nebraska’s Zipline Brewing. The Lincoln-based brewery has announced intentions to open its fourth taproom this summer in Omaha, which will be the second location in the city​, this one called the Zipline Beer Lounge.

Zipline co-founder Tom Wilmoth said the brewery tries to be very respectful of the presence of other breweries and taprooms and of its key retail partners’ locations when choosing a place to add a new Zipline taproom.

“We seek areas that are not directly competing with these folks and that we feel are generally underserved by the craft beer world,” he said. “We try not to locate near existing craft beer destinations but rather become a new destination in a new area. We also seek areas that contain a large number of core craft fans.”

​In Nebraska, the law requires 100 percent of common ownership between a brewery and its tap rooms to stay under one license. So the brewery and all four taprooms remain under common ownership. Financing is a mix of equity and debt.

Setting up a series of taprooms already has been able to give Wilmoth a keen eye for what is needed. He said the key is having a specific vision regarding what a brewery seeks to accomplish with the space.

“In downtown Omaha, our space is designed to service folks going to other events,” Wilmoth noted. “We are set up with an extra wide bar to accommodate large crowds that need to move fast.

“In contrast, the beer lounge in West Omaha will be designed with exactly the opposite in mind. You’ve heard of ‘slow food;’ this is ‘slow beer.’ ”

In keeping with its name, the Beer Lounge will encourage craft beer fans to relax and hang out while playing shuffleboard, sprawling out on sofas or trading stories at the oversized bar.

​Wilmoth believe​s​ taprooms are a great way to interface directly with customers and provide them a unique insight into ​a brewery’s beers.

​”We also rely heavily on our distribution partners and appreciate their efforts. we believe the taprooms augment sales in a market by increasing brand awareness overall​,” he said.​

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