Talea Beer: Proving That Women-Owned Breweries/Taprooms Can Thrive

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Talea Beer attracts an assemblage of 70% women and is 1 of nan fewer women-owned breweries successful NYC. ... [+] Pictured is its latest taproom connected Christopher Street successful nan West Village.

Brooke Helm

When LeAnn Darland and Tara Hankinson were trying to finance their projected brewery successful Williamsburg, Brooklyn that catered mostly to women, they were met pinch skepticism by respective antheral investors. Several said their wives didn’t portion brew truthful nan conception apt wouldn’t succeed.

Nonetheless, nan entrepreneurs showed information of really nan number of women drinking brew was connected nan rise. Yet only 3% of nan 9,500 trade breweries successful nan U.S. are owned by women.

Overcoming nan skepticism, Darland and Hankinson raised capable money from friends, family and angel investors to unfastened Talea Beer successful Williamsburg successful 2021, a brewery, producing various trade beers. They picture their target assemblage arsenic 70% women, including galore from LGBTQ audiences and group of color.

Its sanction Talea combines their names Tara pinch LeAnn. And it’s a existent business arsenic Darland oversees brewery accumulation and leads financial forecasting and Hankinson heads nan taproom, hospitality and marketing.

Just arsenic nan partners envisioned, Talea Beer prospered. It opened a 2nd Talea Beer successful Cobble Hill, a taproom, serving but not producing beer, and successful October 2023 added a Christopher Street taproom successful nan bustling, tourist-filled West Village.

They’re slated to unfastened a 4th Talea Beer successful December adjacent Bryant Park successful nan lobby of nan Park Terrace Hotel. The 2 caller outposts are being financed done a operation of indebtedness and equity.

Two women entrepreneurs are proving pinch Talea Beer that breweries tin pull women and distant workers to vicinity taprooms.

Both Talea partners switched into brewery ownership from much firm jobs. Hankinson worked astatine nan New York Times successful philanthropy and trading and Darland worked successful firm finance astatine Google, earlier nan trade brew world inspired them to entrepreneurship.

The 2 partners met moving astatine Hopsy, a brew e-commerce site, which started arsenic a Berkeley, Calif. transportation work and past moved to New York City. Darland was caput of finance, and Hankinson was caput of customer experience. The duo learned nan ins and outs of trading brew and were mentored by Mike Seitz, CEO of San Francisco-based Barebottle.

More Than a Business But connected a Mission

Darland acknowledged that it’s a business first but is besides connected a ngo “to bring trade brew to an assemblage that has not been targeted before—women.”

It launched successful Williamsburg successful a much business area because its brewery occupies 9,000 quadrate feet, and was antecedently gutted space.

Fruited Sours Beers Are nan Specialty of nan House

In fact, nan brew that it produces astatine its Williamsburg brewery is known for being fruited sours, Darland explained, truthful customers aren’t tasting nan accustomed malt aliases hops, which galore group find bitter. “Hoppy IPAs are an acquired taste,” she adds.

Moreover, their taprooms don’t person TVs and don’t revolve astir watching shot and lucky games, a antheral preference. Hankinson says its clientele “focuses connected nan experience. They’re talking and enjoying their beverage.”

At their Williamsburg brewery, they nutrient bottled and canned beers that waste mostly wholesale. In fact, 75% of nan measurement produced spell to wholesale accounts to complete 300 bars, restaurants and retailers for illustration Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s crossed New York City and Long Island.

Wholesale Generates a Quarter of Their Business

Talea Beer’s wide gross stems 75% from nan taprooms and 25% from wholesale sales. Their best-selling beers successful their taprooms are Al Dente, their Italian-style Pilsner, Sun Up Hazy IPA and Peachberry Punch Sour Ale.

Why It Opens Early

The caller Christopher Street location opens astatine 10 a.m., serves coffee, pastries and ray bites, and has go a spot wherever galore group bring their laptops and work. “Beer is still our breadstuff and food and we don’t person a afloat kitchen,” Darland notes, but it is piloting paninis and flat-breads astatine its Cobbe Hill location.

When this newsman visited nan caller spot precocious morning, bartender Lizzie from Melbourne, Australia, said immoderate guests travel successful early for coffee, activity done nan time connected their laptops, past decorativeness nan time pinch a pint of beer.

It besides partners pinch a big of section eateries to nutrient trade beers including Dante NYC, Don Angie and Magnolia Bakery for its pumpkin pudding ale.

Hankinson notes that respective of these eateries for illustration Dante NYC and Don Angie carried their beers connected a wholesale ground truthful this enables “a broader scope beyond an echo chamber.”

The ambiance astatine astir of its taprooms is not nan usual, “industrial consciousness pinch exposed wood that is much masculine but much natural, unfastened and colorful pinch a different type of comfortable seating, a spot to travel and stay,” Hankinson explains.

People find retired astir Talea Beer from its societal media presence, word-of-mouth and wholesale presence, though it has ne'er paid for a integer ad. “We position our wholesale business arsenic besides a profitable trading tool,” Hankinson adds.

Consumer consequence connected Yelp was highly affirmative without nan accustomed skepticism successful astir online reviews. Jhanio from Brooklyn wrote, “If you’re a instrumentality of fruity and sour brews, this is nan spot to be.” He praised nan Peach Berry Punch Sour Ale.

Laura from Long Island called Talea Beer a “great abstraction for dates, group of each sizes, distant workers and moreover solo diners for illustration myself.” Genevieve from Long Island visited it mid-week and called it “bright, airy, ace cleanable pinch mostly group moving connected laptops.”

Opening successful nan edifice adjacent Bryant Park will alteration it to scope commuters and business people. Hankinson says, “We’ll beryllium capable to meet our customers wherever they are, including those who can’t make it to Williamsburg aliases Cobble Hill.”

In 2024, Darland asserts that it doesn’t expect to unfastened immoderate caller locations, having invested truthful overmuch money successful 2023 but will alternatively “want to make judge our business is profitable.” It’s besides exploring producing non-alcoholic beer, which by rule has to beryllium nether 25% of alcoholic content.

Asked nan 3 keys to their early success, nan partners replied: 1) Adapting to changing user behaviour and tastes, which is an evolving landscape, 2) Staying existent to its brand, civilization and messaging, 3) Creating a semipermanent lens successful their finance successful group and equipment.


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