Embrace the Outdoors: How Breweries are Beefing Up Patio Spaces

Many lessons may have been learned by breweries after the summer of 2020 in how to conduct business. Things that were not a part of the plan became a necessity even if it was not written into the five-year plan.

One big learning curve came by pushing service from the taproom into outdoor spaces. That could mean even eliminating parking spots to add tables, setting up on the lawn, using a loading dock after work was done with it during the day. The ideas have been numerous.

Drake’s Brewing, as an example, transformed its outdoor space in an industrial park into a spot for consumers to grab a drink outside. 

“We’ve found locals gravitating to our newly expanded and improved space and hope and expect that even after the pandemic is over that they will continue to visit to enjoy what we created,” said Drake’s co-owner John Martin.

During the height of COVID in California, Martin said patrons liked the openness of the brewery’s new beer garden, but also the plantings which were installed by one of the brewery’s former brewers, who is now a landscape designer. 

Reservations and tableside service weren’t part of Indeed‘s taproom experience pre-COVID, but the Minneapolis facility has decided to make those things work in leveling up the guest experience. 

“Guests used to show up to a packed taproom, wait in a line to order, and finish their drink in a corner by a drink rail,” recalled Hospitality Director Lindsay Slanga. “Now, they arrive at the taproom with a reservation and dedicated space and have the beertender’s undivided attention.”

At the start of May, Indeed announced a return to live music by showing musicians on its loading dock, which will become a stage for those live events.

READ MORE: Best Tips in Utilizing Beer Garden Space

The loading dock at Indeed has operated in more ways than its name suggests this past year, serving as a platform for DJs last summer as well as a lounge area in Beerland last winter.

While not a true-blue music venue, Off the Dock is a place for local artists to get back to work after a year and a half of canceled gigs — some of which included Indeed’s weekend-long music festivals Whirlygig and Hullabaloo — and guests to experience live music again.

This new setup continues to push the Indeed staff to really think differently about what they are doing, what they could be doing, and how it could improve the guest experience. 

“Overall, guests really loved the spaces we provided,” Slanga said, “especially the expanded patio and lounge areas, and expressed a desire to see some of these aspects kept in place post-pandemic.

It even has breweries planning for the future.

“The pandemic has forced us to embrace the outside regardless of weather,” admitted Lara Zahaba, the co-owner of Stoup Brewing. “We want to improve upon the temporary structures we have relied on and build a space that will make for an enjoyable outdoor experience every winter.

Photo courtesy Indeed Brewing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *