Are You Set Up to Make the Best of It?

Coming out of pandemics and recessions in the past there are always businesses that set themselves up for success coming out of tough times. Although Jackalope‘s Bailey Spaulding feels like 2022 has been a year of “catching their breath,” the Nashville brewery owner feels she has done a pretty good job trying to push the company forward despite issues that arose.

“With that deep breath, it’s a competence in your identity,” she told Brewer during the cover story interview for the July/August issue. “I feel like you get the question a lot of like, how’s your brewery different from everyone else’s brewery? And it’s always a difficult question. The pandemic let us really reflect on who we are, and how we are different.”

Spaulding said that 40% of the beer they brew is a Brown Ale.

“That is very, very different at this time and we are proud of that,” she said. “We need to be vocal and proud of that. I think it is a big thing for us. That is something that we can take [to pitch].

“Like when we first met our distributor that we’re going to be working within North Carolina, that’s what they really wanted because there’s a lot of noise out there now. They said, If you’re going into North Carolina, it’s not necessarily like, ‘Hey, would you like to try an IPA, not from North Carolina?’ That’s a tougher thing to do. But if it’s actually something you don’t have on your draft wall and it’s going to be successful for you. And we have 10 years of sales to back up that statement. I’d say we’re capitalizing on that type of thing.”

Although outside of the state is important, the home city is even more critical. Especially since opening, Nashville has become a craft beer haven — including planning its second Craft Brewers Conference for 2023 — and the competition has beefed up. Jackalope built its newer and larger facility in 2018 and is helping entrench itself into its local community. Having that hyper-local connection matters to Bailey, as explained in the cover story​ as well.

​”​When we started, there were three of us,” she said. “So you were literally everywhere. You’d be the one working the festivals. You’d be the one out for events at bars. You really were out there quite a bit. I think that was a really difficult and challenging time because that was your entire identity. But I think it was very valuable. 

“You learned a lot just about how each part of it works. And so it can kind of help trying to manage your staff and be able to understand what they’re working on. Kind of all aspects of the business. But I definitely wanted Jackalope to be kind of a community standard and be recognized for being a positive part of the community.

​”You get really cool responses from people. It’s surprising and humbling to be such a big part of people’s lives. People you don’t even know. People who have their first dates here, then they get married or something. People have proposed here. And working with organizations that we’ve gotten to work with, and learning what they’re all doing and feeling like you’re making a little bit of a difference for them. It’s pretty cool to have people you don’t even know really care about what you’re doing.”

​The brewery’s neighborhood is just starting to get its own “swagger and identity,” she said. 

“We were one of the first folks here,” she said. “And we are just getting to do fun things again, and that has been a big part of 2022. That’s kind of what we were known for. What we started with was just doing kind of our own random fun stuff. And it’s fun to get back to that and maybe on a little bigger level than we did before.”

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