“Craft” refers to more than your beer

March 7th, 2019 • by Allen Rossignol
Allen Rossignol

Allen Rossignol

Allen is an architect and green building professional. He established his studio in 2002 based on the principles of sustainability and with the firm belief that good design is good business. Allen’s passion for sustainable design is innately integrated in his company today; incorporating environmentally conscious features and helping clients lower their operating costs. Overseen by Allen, Edge designed Red Tail Ridge Winery, New York State’s first LEED Gold Certified winery. Other notable designs include the FLCC Viticulture and Enology Center, Nedloh Brewing Co, and O’Begley’s Distillery, among various craft beverage designs throughout the Northeast. Edge Architecture’s craft beverage work is complemented with experience in higher education, food service and hospitality. Allen is a licensed architect in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, and Pennsylvania.

The craft beverage industry across the country has been booming over the past 10 years, with New York State being a front-runner in all sectors including hard cider, craft distillers, breweries, and wineries. There are now over 1,000 craft alcoholic beverage makers in NYS and that number is expected to climb in the upcoming years as the NYS government continues to ease regulatory restrictions by lowering taxes for craft beverage companies, as well as reducing the time it takes to acquire a license.

There has been an obvious push in Albany to help bolster this $3.5 billion state industry helping to create a climate that is both enticing and rewarding for individually owned craft beverage companies. But as in any rapidly growing industry, there ultimately comes a point when the market place starts to become saturated with competition, and weaker establishments will see a significant dilution of their business, while others grow stronger.

Stay ahead of the game by thinking outside the bottle. Obviously the most important key element to attracting a solid client base for any prosperous craft beverage business is the quality and product selection, but the experience you craft for your customers shouldn’t stop there.

4 considerations often overlooked:

  1. Food – Whether visitors are just stopping in or are frequent patrons, people are often look to food to offset/compliment the taste and splendor of the libations they are enjoying. The addition of food to your offerings not only entices your guests to stay longer, but the longer they stay, the more beverages they are likely to have. Your menu should emphasize the quality of the craft beverage and play a complementary role, and the same care that goes into crafting your beverages should be given to the choice and quality of the food you provide.
  2. Efficiency – Maintaining a healthy flow of visitors at a craft beverage location comes down to how streamlined your process is. A thoughtful design and layout of your tap and glass line can not only help balance staff traffic during peak times, but also reduce the amount of wasted beverage that is created, helping to increase efficiency as well as the locations overall environment and cleanliness.
  3. Style – Your establishment’s style should serve as an extension of your brand’s story. However there are certain elements that should be considered:  large open spaces or higher ceiling levels to help ease the feeling of over-crowdedness; bar areas that are accessible on multiple sides or are long enough to serve large groups of people, and selection in material and chair type. It may also be worth thinking about the separation of sports oriented vs. non-sports oriented visitors. Offering areas where people may have access to televised sporting events could prove to be beneficial by providing diverse environments and experiences in one location.
  4. Design – Every craft beverage location wants to create an environment and style that is not only unique to them, but also is welcoming to a client base where people want to continue to return to. People come to these kinds of establishments for one main reason: to experience your craft beverage, and a large part of that experience is seeing and knowing how the beverage was made so your guests can understand and feel connected with your beverage. Elements such as large glass windows are a great way to showcase your process to visitors so they can see for themselves the work that goes into creating your products. Providing an outdoor eating/drinking area is a great way to attracting visitors during warmer months. The use of covers such as awnings, umbrellas, pergolas, etc. from the hot sun can add to a more comfortable experience for daytime guests. Transitions from indoors to outdoors should be seamless with easy access points.

Everyone has their own preference and style when it comes to selecting a craft beverage location. However, every successful craft beverage business has similar underlying qualities that form a solid basis for growth, expansion, and a reliable pool of customers. The quality of the beverage will always be the most important aspect of any craft beverage location, but finding ways to enhance the uniqueness in flavor through food, efficiency, style and design are what will ultimately help your business thrive against the ever increasing competition.