Why Upland ​Created a Space for a Dedicated Consumer Base

Cycling has always been part of the Upland Brewing DNA, says President David Bower.

“[It’s] born from a shared passion among co-workers and further realized with examples ranging from our sponsored Upland Cycling Teams to the Gray Goat bike shop located within our Fountain Square brewery,” he told Brewer recently.

The new Upland Bike Bar, which switches the hosting duties to have the brewery’s beers being nestled within Gray Goat Bicycle Co’s new flagship bike shop location, is a partnership that takes the Bloomington, Indiana brewery’s commitment to the cycling community to a whole new level. The tasting room will be located on the top floor of Gray Goat’s newest bike shop on Southport Road in Indianapolis.

Guests will choose from four taps, pouring brewery-fresh beer including Dragonfly IPA, Wheat Ale, and rotating seasonal and specialty offerings. In addition to the in-house menu, carry-out options will include the current and seasonal can options, a line of blended Naked Barrel Hard Seltzers, and an array of wood-aged sours.

​This isn’t the first expansion of locations even this year as the brewery launched a new brewpub in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Both have unique traits though when it comes to focus.​

​”​From a guest engagement perspective, opening a new large-format brewpub like Jeffersonville casts a wide net while opening a bike shop bar is a very focused effort to serve a specific neighborhood and well-defined clientele,” Bower explained. “These two concept categories work in tandem and are the foundation of the Upland Family of Businesses — a harmony between macro and micro experiences.

“At heart, these experiences are similar as they express the same brand values and offer the same award-winning beers; they differ in how these values are expressed and the ways our beers are presented to our guests. As we continue to grow within our home state, we strive to create new opportunities to serve a wide array of guests amid a wide array of experiences.”

READ MORE: ​How Stickmen Has Molded New Taproom Locations

​So how does adding a unique taproom in a new area help both in sales, marketing, and brand recognition?

​Bower said taprooms are ​a brewery’s most powerful tool for developing long-lasting relationships (​ie. ​loyalty) amid ​an expanding consumer base.

​”​In a world of ever-tightening shelf space ​and​ tap lists, the luxury of offering our beers within the full context of our brand story, ethos, and aesthetic is the top-of-the-funnel for nearly all of our marketing endeavors​,” Bower said. ​”​The loyalty generated within our four walls is subsequently converted ​and​ expressed as sales among neighboring grocery, liquor, and on-premise partners.​”​

The Upland Bike Bar will offer a very similar look and feel to ​the brewery’s other full-service brewpubs, but with a particular focus on creating an inviting, casual space ​for patrons to gather with friends and enjoy ​a wide selection of locally crafted beers.

​”​With counter-service ​and​ open seating, this location will have a cafe-esque feel, perfect for chill hangout sessions, catching up on emails or a good book, and grabbing carry-out for the weekend​,” Bower said​. ​”​Given the setting, it will naturally also be an ideal spot to enjoy a beer while contemplating your next bike purchase, awaiting a tire change, or watching the next stage at The Tour​.”​

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