Why Adirondack Has Focused in on Customer Experience for its Brewpub

This is a part of a continuing series of Q&As with members of the brewing community from across the U.S.
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.

James McReynolds, General Manager, Adirondack Brewery/Lake George Brewpub — Lake George, New York

BREWER: How do you feel your job has had to adapt in the beer market compared to a few years ago?
McREYNOLDS: We have had to adapt as a company as a whole. As the consumer shifts to other types of beverages, seltzers, ciders and cocktails. As a brewpub we want to stick to our roots, but at the same time we need to appeal to a large crowd as we are in a resort town. Our menus and offerings have changed to be more inclusive and with a wider variety of adult beverages. So in a nutshell both my job and my teams have had to change and become more knowledgeable of what the customers want. As well as staying innovative and ahead of the curve to keep customers excited about what we are doing next.

BREWER: Can you share a success story that you are proud of in your job or maybe a story of how you learned from a situation that has altered your thoughts on how you do your job now?
McREYNOLDS: There are a number of stories and examples of how I am proud of my job and this company. I will say one that sticks out is how our staff pooled together during COVID and we were able to keep the business moving forward by doing a multitude of things from take-out; to producing hand sanitizer; to volunteering at local meal delivery services and we were able to support our community. And at the end of the day I feel it brought our core staff and company culture to a better place.  

BREWER: What idea did you or your team come up with lately that has been a big benefit to how your brewpub functions?
McREYNOLDS: An idea we had a few years ago was to stay focused on making quality and consistent craft beverages. Not just craft beer. We did the same thing in our restaurant. We downsized the menu and focused more on staying fresh and fun. This has allowed us to be a bit more creative overall.

BREWER: If you had one strategy that you could implement to better the craft beer business, what would it be?
McREYNOLDS: I am not sure it is a strategy per se. But I would say the industry as a whole is becoming more and more competitive. There are breweries everywhere. I think being very concerned with the experience a customer has while they are on your grounds is sometimes overlooked. If the beer and/or food are great, that is a plus. But if the total experience is not then you need to change it up. I think a lot of the industry focuses on how great their beer or food is. But they forget to think about if the customer is having fun while they are visiting as your guest.

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