The 2 Ways CraftHaus Looks to Resonate with Las Vegas

This is 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 develop your own brand.

With the annual Craft Brewers Conference starting Sunday, April 21, Brewer Magazine will chat with some of the local breweries in the Las Vegas area. Look for a CBC-Las Vegas preview in the latest print and digital edition as well.

Wyndee Forrest, co-founder, CraftHaus — Henderson/Las Vegas, Nevada

BREWER: You are just far enough away from the Strip that this becomes like any other city that doesn’t have a huge tourism piece right outside of it. You are still trying to be a local craft brewery to the people in this area. That’s probably what drives you guys over these last almost 10 years now?
FORREST: We have a very loyal local following. But on the weekends, it shifts. So the weekends, you have your devout craft beer traveler who will come and seek you out and want to see the beer and where it’s made. CraftHaus also has a second tasting room downtown in the arts district, which is now Brewery Row. We were able to help the city of Las Vegas with establishing Brewery Row and that footprint and what it looked like. It was a program that came through economic development. So economic development saw that breweries go into economically depressed areas, invest heavily in infrastructure, and then build up those areas and revitalize them. So they wanted to offer incentives for breweries to move to that area to help revitalize the arts district. We love our locals, but we also love tourists too. I mean, we are a tourist town. We see 42 million tourists in Clark County annually, so you can’t not put some advertising dollars behind that.

BREWER: How about beer-wise? What resonates here? How are you creating your own path?
FORREST: First and foremost, it has to be quality-driven. We have a saying in the brewery that if it’s not quality, it’s not CraftHaus. It’s not good enough to just be local, you can’t expect people to support local if local isn’t also quality. And those two things don’t go hand in hand automatically. So yes, we need people to support local, because that puts tax dollars back into your community. But we also need to have a quality-driven beer that we’re proud to share with our friends and family. And we’re also proud that they can then share with their friends and family. So quality is our driving force. But after that, we want to have a really diverse portfolio. Sometimes we brew things that we like to drink. We have a Czech Pilsner, and it’s super crisp and tasty and it’s the brewer’s best friend, and we all drink it here and love it. But it’s now pulling forward as our Top 3 seller. So we have to make sure that we’re making things that people can enjoy and that we’re proud of putting out but we do have a diverse portfolio. So we have Lagers, fruited sours, we have barrel-aged beers. So we want to have a very round portfolio. We don’t super focus on one style of beer because I think that’s really shooting yourself in the foot.

READ MORE: How This Partnership Has Benefited CraftHaus Beyond a Brand

BREWER: Since opening more than nine years ago, how has it changed for you as a business?
FORREST: When we first opened our 10-year plan was to be a regionally distributed brewery because that was the business model. But I didn’t want to have a company large enough to be distributed nationally. We came in with no brewery experience, both my husband (Dave) and I. But now that’s changed. There’s so much available market share within Clark County alone, that it allows us to maintain control over the message and control over the quality. And that’s really the most important to us. Once you start going beyond your home court, it’s like playing telephone, right? Your message gets watered down, and by the time it comes around to the 14th person, it isn’t the original message that you intended to put out there. So that takes a lot of time resources and effort to control that the farther it goes out. So we are distributed over all of Nevada, but only within Nevada. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t considering other markets. But we really want to make sure that our home market is fulfilled first before we go out beyond our state’s border.

Editor’s Note: Questions and replies edited for brevity and clarity

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Vegas Breweries Get Ready for CBC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.