How TALEA Hopes to Change Customer Perceptions

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the US.
Brewer Magazine will share business and personal insights from Brewmasters, Head Brewers, Brewing Managers, Sales Directors, QCQA Managers and others each weekend to help you get to know each other better in the industry and learn more to better develop your own brand.

LeAnn Darland and Tara Hankinson, co-founders/co-CEOs, TALEA Beer — Brooklyn

BREWER: What do you feel have been new challenges in your position that have helped push you and make you better at your job?
DARLAND: This year our theme is doubling: doubling production, our wholesale volume, and our taproom footprint. Scaling a business is challenging and requires prioritization and stepping away from some of the minutiae. This has pushed us to find and rely on key team members as well as make more of our internal processes like project management more efficient.

BREWER: Why did you enter the craft beer industry and what makes you love being a part of it and staying in it?
DARLAND: I entered the industry because I love the ability to create a beverage and I believed there was an opportunity to bring a hospitality-focused taproom to life. There is so much opportunity to change customer perception.

BREWER: What are some recent trends in brewing that you’ve tried or are excited about trying? 
HANKINSON: We’ve seen a big trend in the fourth category of brewing things like hard seltzers or spiked teas and have felt inspired to push the boundaries of beer. We’re creating cocktail-inspired beers, light beers, and fruited sours made with real fruit, herbs, and spices that taste so much more interesting than a standard hard seltzer.

BREWER: What was your business’s greatest accomplishment during the past year, and what are your goals for your brewery this year? 
DARLAND: Signing leases and breaking ground on our two new locations, which will open in Fall 2023!
HANKINSON: Our growth! We more than doubled our wholesale footprint across NYC. It’s also incredibly rewarding to have a growing team that provides many opportunities for professional development.

BREWER: What are some changes in the industry that you’ve observed in the past few years, and how has your business adapted to stay competitive?
DARLAND: Over the past few years, growth in craft has definitely slowed and in some facets has even started to decline. We have always positioned our company and our beers as being totally different, getting inspiration from outside of the beer industry. Everything we do is authentic to ourselves and appeals to customers who don’t fall under the ‘beer bro’ identity. We have brought a new perspective to craft beer and are operating under a taproom/experience focused model.

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