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Multiplying the Taproom Effect

As taprooms continue to play a central role in the success of breweries large and small, some brewers are orienting their entire business model around a network of interconnected outlets.

Tom Wilmes Jul 25, 2017 - 10 min read

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Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. opened in a nondescript industrial park in Buellton, California, in 2010. Founders Jaime Dietenhofer and his father, Jim Dietenhofer, were fastidious in their research. They worked on their business plan and brand building in earnest for at least five years and began thinking about the business much earlier. The plan was straightforward: make great beer and sell it through a distribution model. Grow the brand and slowly extend its reach.

Shortly after Figueroa Mountain opened its production facility, however, it became apparent to its owners that a fundamental shift had taken place in the way consumers preferred to purchase craft beer. It wasn’t enough to pick up a six-pack from store shelves. Many wanted to taste the product in the place where it was brewed and enjoy a more personal experience with the beer and the people who made it.

“We originally said, ‘We don’t need a taproom because we’ll just make great liquid and have a great brand to get it out there,’ ” Jaime Dietenhofer says. “And then people started knocking on the door at the industrial park and saying, ‘Hey, we want to come in and taste the beers,’ so sooner rather than later we built out a taproom, and that became the model.”

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