​How Stickmen Has Molded New Taproom Locations

​With its original Lake Oswego location​ being more seasonal, Stickmen Brewing made the move for a production brewery in a more stable location. Now the Portland, Oregon-area facility is leveraging the simplicity of its production/taproom model but making it more refined like its original headquarters in the creation of two more spots around the metro area to help serve more consumers where they live.

Principal Owner Tim Schoenheit told Brewer they treat the two locations as two “home bases” now and will model the new parts as a combo of both after learning how to run each over nearly a decade.

“Our original Lake Oswego location is quite seasonal with a giant lakeside patio. We do BBQ there and sell a lot of margaritas in the summer in addition to our house beers. It is a full-service restaurant with a big summer staff,” he explained.”Our production brewery and taproom in Tualatin is much simpler. Counter service, wood-fired pizzas, and a few salads, beer, and wine.

The new location will leverage the simplicity of the Tualatin location but in a more refined (restaurant vs. warehouse) atmosphere, Schoenheit added.

“Because it is a dedicated restaurant space, we will be able to expand the menu a bit with some appetizers and a broader salad selection,” he said. “We will also be opening early in the mornings as a full-service coffee bar, including serving frittatas that will be baked fresh in our wood-fired oven.”

The new Happy Valley taproom sits on the corner of a newly constructed 5,873-square-foot space, at Happy Valley Crossroads East. This location is the second phase of the shopping center led by a local developer.​ The Cedar Mill taproom was originally slated to open this fall, but the developer has delayed the construction of the 5,000-square-foot facility and plans to open that Stickmen location until Spring 2022.

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“We knew the size range we were looking for to keep our service model manageable and what location would minimize overlap with our current customers,” Schoenheit said. The research included looking at potential competitors and the demographics of the areas.

“We also took care to make sure we were not in the Portland city limits,” he added. “Beyond that, we are really just expanding on what is working so well at our Tualatin location.”

Creating these spots after what the pandemic wrought has changed some perspective.

​”​I believe we will get back to “old normal” eventually, so we are not changing what we have been planning too much​,” Schoenheit said. ​”​We are, however; maximizing the available outdoor seating and plan on using it year-round as people have become much more tolerant of sitting outside in less than perfect weather conditions.

​”​We are also avoiding built-in seating like booths to keep flexible with changing occupancy allowances.​”​

Because Stickmen is not installing a traditional kitchen line for the business model for the start-up costs are relatively low.

“We negotiated solid TI allowances and should be able to self-finance with existing cash and lines of credit,” Schoenheit said.

The biggest unknown in these buildouts has been due to the inflationary impact of recent government programs coupled with shortages of building supplies due to weather events and international trade issues.

All Schoenheit said the brewery and its building partners can do is plan ahead as much as possible and be ready to pivot concerning finishing materials.

The seasonality of the original location was certainly part of the drive to open more locations, Schoenheit said.

“Non-seasonal locations balance the cash flow for the seasonal one,” he explained. “We also want to make our beers available to more customers.

“The on-premises market is very difficult for distribution breweries these days with the lack of getting permanent handles and the constant consumer desire for new beers. With our own locations, we can have 28 permanent handles for our beers. As we get Happy Valley and then Cedar Mill open, we will be able to rely less on our distributors to move draft beer.”

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