Make Your Outdoor Space The Best it Can Be

Setting up an outdoor craft beer garden allows your brewery to provide a unique experience for customers. In order to ensure a successful outdoor craft beer garden concept, Brewer compiled some ideas from breweries that have unlocked their spaces to maximize its best use

Choose the right location

It should be in a convenient location that is easy to access. It should also be close to other businesses or attractions that will draw customers. Additionally, you should consider the size of the space you have available. You want to make sure that your beer garden can comfortably accommodate the number of guests you plan to serve. 

​Creating an outdoor space in a weather-challenged area isn’t new to Seattle’s Stoup Brewing either, yet co-owner Lara Zahaba is in love with what they have been able to do.​

​”​We sit in a very industrial neighborhood so there is a lot of concrete. The challenge was to create an oasis in the concrete jungle,” she said. “We did that with brightly painted Adirondack chairs, bright shade sails overhead in a normal year and a lot of bamboo to soften the landscape. We also have a fire pit.​”

​The Adirondack chairs and the firepit have always been the favorite features of ​the beer garden. Also the ​brewery has a ​shipping container bar that ​they open in summer so that beer garden patrons don’t have to return to the taproom for another beer​ is helpful​.

​”This year, we really excelled at providing an outdoor space that felt friendly and safe​,” Zahaba said.​ “We set up ​two​-sided pods underneath a larger tent so that most guests had the safety of a wall between themselves and the next table. We also maintained several propane heaters that we could move around as tables needed them.​”​

​Stoup also added this greenhouse to the beer garden which can comfortably seat 6-8 people and is the only table that can be reserved. A portion of every reservation fee supports one of ​five​ nonprofits that the guest can choose from.

Design and layout 

This should include seating arrangements, lighting and sound systems, and other amenities. Consider seating options, such as bar stools, tables and chairs, and benches. Choose furniture that’s durable and designed to withstand outdoor conditions. You’ll also need to choose decorations that reflect your brewery’s style and create an atmosphere that customers will enjoy. You should also consider the types of food and drink you will offer along with providing entertainment such as live music or trivia nights. 

When you have it, flaunt it. Unlike urban or industrial areas that may not have the ability to create a lusher-looking beer garden, many breweries do have the luxury of green space to use to its advantage. Some did this during the pandemic to create more space for consumers while others have boosted efforts on property that already was developed.

Betty Bollas, the president and co-owner of Fibonacci Brewing in Ohio said in early 2021 she and her team were fortunate to have an adjacent property next to the beer garden which is an acre with grass, mature trees, and a wooded area.

“It also has an old farmhouse that we renovated into another taproom and an Airbnb,” she told Brewer. They use the half-acre in front of the property for a beer garden space.

“(2020) was our first year utilizing the space as a beer garden, which we had used in the previous year for our Farmers’ Market,” she said. The brewery purchased seating and added uplights on the trees last year along with adding fire pits and a small stage as well recently.

“We were able to utilize grant money for all of those things and it’s already running well,” she said, noting that it has been a huge draw for people who want to get out, but still have safety.

“There is a lot of grassy shaded space to spread out.”

Make it legal

Once you have chosen a location and conceptulized your space, you need to obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Depending on where you live, you may need to obtain aditional liquor, food license, or other permits. Additionally, you should ensure that the space meets all relevant health and safety regulations. 

One addition from the summer of 2022 for Sonder Brewing was it installed an outdoor bar with 12 draft options.

“This allows our customers to hang out outside and have access to most of the brews and wine options available inside,” Haley Shutter explained. “Additionally, our team created a whimsical German-themed mural installation on the outdoor cooler as a fun backdrop to the beer garden and as a photo op.”

To accommodate even more guests, they can put up a large event tent on the property.  Shutter said the tent allows Sonder staff to host large groups for private or public events, along with providing additional seating for its regular taproom customer when it’s available.  

The tent is heated in the cooler months and provides a large covered space for up to 150 additional people.

Sonder isn’t content though and Shutter said that in the future they hope to add more landscaping featuring more trees, and native plants, a walking path around the perimeter of the property, and additional recreation activities to encourage guests to hang out longer and more often.

Photo courtesy Adobe Stock

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