Why This Service Model Has Worked Wonders for Forbidden Root

​More of an old-school approach has worked well so far for ​Chicago’s Forbidden Root. In an age of check-ins and on to the next, the brewpub has found ways to keep fans coming back without chasing trends.

“The market has come our way in that consumers don’t want a one-and-done experience,” explained Director of Operations, Brian Krajack. “Our approach to beer has always been respectful of pallet cumulation.

“We have and will push our commercial successes to provide more of what our fans like most about the core line — but we still like to push the boundaries and, luckily, our customers like it as well.”

Forbidden Root is one of the first commercial botanic breweries in the country and ​they state that they ​aim to ​work with natural ingredients ​by sourcing sustainable ingredients, when possible​. ​The use of non-standard fermentations and a wooden barrel-aging program ​for blending​.​ ​They were ​recently named the Best Brewpub in the United States by USA Today 2022 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

​”The secret is getting out, and USA Today is a welcome accolade that we are doing our jobs in providing new, different, and worthwhile experiences for our guests​,” Krajack said. “It also helps us get the message out about what we are doing with both beer and food to a wider audience outside of Chicago or Columbus ​… ​or even the Midwest.​”

While Forbidden Root often has visitors from all over ​the country, this new achievement can help give ​them even more visibility​,​ especially in a food and beer city like Chicago.

​”Marketing-wise, we are touting our successes on social media and in our newsletter as well as reaching beer/food/travel writers to educate people about Forbidden Root as a whole,” Krajack said. “This is a nice feather in our cap and we hope it helps more enthusiasts find their way into one of our brewpubs.”

Forbidden Root has two locations in Chicago​ ​and ​a spot in​ Columbus, Ohio.

Krajack said that growth in popularity even during the pandemic worked because they really had to open their ears and listen to staff and guests.

“At Cultivate, our newest location, we heard from a guest about how social media isn’t the norm for how all people keep informed about new restaurants in their area,” Karjack recalled. “The guest suggested old-school mailers for reaching our immediate community.

“We tried them and it was a huge success. Our cocktail program is another big success that was really driven by our staff.”

The growth of the staff going through a pandemic is one of Karjack’s greatest success stories, he said.

“I think the challenges of the pandemic resulted in a lot of creativity and people trying new things,” he said. “We are happy that we provide a place for our staff to explore and that benefits everyone from the rest of the staff to our customers.

“For instance, one of our bartenders asked if he could take over the bar. He quickly became one of our stars. Making his own syrups, juices, and recipes, he created the cocktail program we are serving today.”

The brewery also just won a Silver medal at FoBAB, which Krajack said also serves to let folks know that the brewery’s chops are not restricted to botanically inspired beer.

“We love many styles, and will look to prove that we are worthy of attention,” Krajack said. “We will continue to innovate and push the boundaries of beer.”

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