I remember my first event like it was yesterday. I was scared as all hell. I’d never planned, hosted and charged real money for a multi-course beer and food pairing kinda thing. On top of that, it totally sold out, which surprised the crap out of me. It also terrified me: people were going to show up and really expect something. Yikes! Now entering year 3 with 15 or so events in the rear-view, I still get a twinge of nerves on event day. I still worry that I’ll exceed expectations. And I still want each guest to have a cool experience.
As fun as they may be, the events are just a small part of the over all dream. I started them as a way to keep working towards the end goal: a craft beer shop or ’boutique.’
Why a Craft Beer Retail Shop? Is Beer Really a “Thing”?
Trust me. Beer is a “thing.”
The craft beer industry is growing in America. It’s a $22.3 Billion dollar industry reporting double digit growth for the past 8 years. The growth is happening everywhere. Georgia is home to 38 craft breweries and brew pubs and Atlanta alone is home to 30+ of those establishments with 11 or so online to open within the next year. The demand is clear and new consumers are entering the market every day. Millennials, consumers ages 21 – 35, represent the largest segment of the craft beer buying population. Women in this same age group represent the fastest growing segment of craft beer consumers.
Statistics show that both groups favor engaging experiences over strictly buying retail. But no one is marketing to them. There’s a huge gap between who’s buying and who’s being courted.
That’s why a niche like ABB is necessary.
Oh, So You’re Opening a Pub or a Brewery? Sweet!
Nope. Not even. At least, not yet. The Atlanta Beer Boutique is just what the name implies – a boutique or small shop for beer. Think of a fancy wine shop but with beer instead. We’ll have a thoughtful selection of local and southern craft beers. A carefully curated selection of market items such as gourmet foods, books, and glassware will create a well-rounded opportunity for folks to fully enjoy craft beer at home. An adjacent tasting room or common area will allow for beer education and exploration with others. And a home brewing kitchen will support beginners and those without the resources to brew at home. The Atlanta Beer Boutique will combine retail with experiential learning for the beer novice, the beer connoisseur and everyone in between.
Sounds Cool! When’s It Opening?
I’m working on it! The goal is to have doors open by this time next year. There are a few hurdles – finances are the first. I’ll be hosting some investor open house events and a few fundraisers between now and the spring of 2017. Then there’s the issue of location. Antiquated Atlanta beer laws classify a beer retailer as a “package store” and with that comes a litany of negative connotations and prohibitions. For example, a new beer shop “package store” can’t open within a couple hundred feet of a house, a church and/or a school. It’s Atlanta. There’s a house, a church and a school on every corner and in some cases, those three uses are in the same building! But despite the road blocks, the dream is very much alive, thanks to the team of volunteers, friends and supporters behind me. If all goes as planned, this is the last year of just hosting events. In the meantime, I’m finishing up a “beer guide” for ladies and planning more cool, interactive beer events like Beer, Football and Friends and the Fall Beer Brunch.
How Can I Be Down With ABB [yeah, you know me]?
[That’s a shout out to my sister, Micki, who is obviously a fan of rap duo “Naughty By Nature.”] You can help by spreading the word about The Atlanta Beer Boutique on social media and to your personal networks. Events are my best marketing tool; sharing and re-posting them goes a long way! And if you can attend an upcoming ABB event, that’s even better! This Saturday, October 1st we’ll be celebrating another year in the beer game. Come through.
If you can’t make it, check out our Upcoming Events page for future fun. We look forward to seeing you around. Cheers!