The Building Blocks to Developing A Consumer Base When Opening


Opening a brewery is tough enough. Opening a brewery in a pandemic adds just heaps on top. Yet LUKI Brewery did it in July and founder Jeff Smith and his crew — which consists mostly of family members — have worked to grow the Arvada, Colorado facility.

Smith said the brewery’s business model really helped at the start as it did not intend to get onto taps at restaurants or on shelves at liquor stores.

Instead, LUKI has worked on growing its consumer base through some old-fashioned techniques coupled with new-school thoughts:

  • Word of Mouth: Smith said they have tapped into their community members to share the news of the brewery, even to avenues you can’t necessarily reach, like the next neighborhood over. “We focus on having great beer and great service,” he said. “It will be very difficult to reach those who don’t want to risk things, but that’s completely understandable.”
  • Addressing Safety: “We’ve gotten great feedback on social media sites about our cleaning procedures and service,” Smith noted. “Most of our events and our webpage have “COVID Corner” so that people who are concerned can see how we’re addressing safety. When people are ready, we’ll be here.”
  • Making New Connections: “We’ll continue to investigate services to make it easier and safe to experience LUKI at home,” Smith said. “It took us four years to build this brewery, and we’re used to pivoting to make things work … it’s part of our DNA now, and now we’ll keep pushing forward.”

A surprising challenge for LUKI heading into the winter was acquiring outdoor furniture. Smith said they weren’t looking for anything too fancy for the patios, but by the time he reached the point where it was time to buy… everything was sold out. So LUKI has had to improvise.

“We used kegs and made these wooden tabletops to place over them. It worked out great, but the labor to bring them back and forth inside got old quick,” he said. “Besides that, we were learning not only how to run a taproom, but run it in such a way to keep people safe within the COVID-19 guidelines.

“We weren’t sure what to expect, so we never hired any staff. None of us had any experience with this type of service, so it was a mixed bag of mistakes and figuring it out on the fly.”

For Opening Day it was all family.

“We’re a family-owned brewery anyway, but everyone was there for opening and through the first month,” Smith said. “Serving, cleaning, the whole works.

“It was an exhausting month for all of us, luckily we have help now.”

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