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What transforms a taproom from a place that simply serves beer into a sticky brand experience that wins loyal fans?

According to Jamie Cornelius, Executive Creative Director at ChangeUp and Gary Bryant, EVP at Artisanal Brewing Ventures (ABV), it’s about creating an environment infused with the essence of the brand story.

 

 

During RestaurantSpaces in Austin, Bryant and Cornelius shared insights gleaned from developing the new Sixpoint Brewery taproom in Brooklyn. An underground draft-only darling shrouded in cryptic branding, Sixpoint had never boasted a public space before. There was eager anticipation to create a true Sixpoint immersion.

For holding company, Artisanal, taprooms are critical touchpoints to building the brand in people’s hearts. But simply slapping the logo everywhere won’t cut it. The team rejects tired industry cliches in favor of experiences with hospitality, food, and environments befitting of their brews.

Selecting a Site, Setting the Scene

Usually, location scouting starts in the brand’s backyard and radiates out to adjacent hotspots. The goal is to set up shop near cultural pulse points — stadiums, museums, and entertainment venues.


Inside of the Sixpoint Brewery

For Sixpoint’s first taproom, ABV was unable to stick to this strategy. What it had to work with was an existing multi-tenanted retail space, heavily impacted by the clamor of a nearby food hall. Tucked away underground, they relied on bold exterior branding to lure passersby.

Once inside, customers are pulled into the Sixpoint universe. The space relies on thoughtful colors, patterns, textures, and greenery, as well as nods to Brooklyn and signature motifs in the artwork. 

Nailing the Details

Patrons are also welcomed by more than just beer. Dishes like the Pepper Don’t Preach burger are available to order. The space features custom furniture by local makers, while art shows and weekly events attempt to build community beyond drinking and dining.

The merchandise corner

Careful consideration of shifting customer needs shaped the layout, which can flex as needed. There are spaces for both lunch and boisterous happy hours, which also function as ideal spots for reading or working on laptops during downtime. Areas designated for retail — hats, T-shirts, sweaters, and other swag… and beer, of course — help reinforce the branding and create fandom.

The resulting setting feels distinctly Sixpoint without splashing the logo about everywhere. At the same time, the taproom also stands on its own as a brand experience as opposed to a generic pub.

New Heights in Manhattan

Cornelius and Bryant also spoke about a second taproom being developed in lower Manhattan, situated in more of an ideal location. Boasting views across to the Oculus, its access to outdoor space provides an urban escape.

The design for a second taproom in Manhattan

While the potentially sophisticated clientele and upscale setting beg for elevation, the team will maintain that unique Sixpoint vibe — gritty elegance in the heart of the concrete jungle.

Jason Schwab

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Content + event producer with an innate, insatiable curiosity. Fixated on the future of work and retail and restaurant design.

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