The Taproom Model Adaptations Sowada Made for Fait la Force

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.

Zach Sowada, co-owner/co-founder/Head Brewer, Fait la Force Brewing — Nashville

BREWER: What do you feel have been new challenges in your position that have helped push you and make you better at your job?
SOWADA: Looking for ways to increase efficiency in the brewhouse and cellar, while still maintaining or even increasing quality. With new products coming out every day, it’s important to see what small investments you can make that will save you or your staff time, and make your beer even better.

BREWER: Why did you enter the craft beer industry and what makes you love being a part of it and staying in it?
SOWADA: I was an engineer for 12 years and wanted a change from the day-to-day corporate life, which was uninspiring to say the least. I knew that if I didn’t make the leap soon, I would have regretted it later in life while still staring at that computer in my cubicle. Everyone I’ve met in the brewing industry has been both helpful and collaborative, and it’s much more rewarding knowing my work directly impacts the success of our business instead of being a cog on the wheel at a large company.

BREWER: What are some recent trends in brewing that you’ve tried or are excited about trying?
SOWADA: Cleaner and leaner hoppy lagers like West Coast Pilsners and Cold IPAs. Removing most, or all, crystal malts gives the perfect base to let the hops shine and reduces the oxidative character that crystal malt can do with hoppier styles as they age. Also, incorporating regional and local malt (like Riverbend Malt House) into various recipes has been a lot of fun, and something I plan to do more of in 2023.

BREWER: What was your business’s greatest accomplishment during the past year, and what are your goals for your brewery this year?
SOWADA: Opening! After five years of planning and 2.5 years of construction delays during COVID we finally opened the doors on Feb 4, 2022. Our goals this year are to increase production, incorporate a small food menu, and offer wine and limited cocktails.

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?
SOWADA: The taproom model has shifted quite a bit recently, which I’m sure COVID played a part of. Consumers are going out less, but spending more when they do. Having a wide variety of beverages outside of beer as well as consistent food available on-site is a must. Also, keeping things fresh with new events is a great way to bring more people in the door. We have expanded our kitchen recently, and we’ll be debuting a few European-inspired hot food items this winter. We’re also working towards getting our wine and liquor license.

Photo courtesy Evan Webb

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