Breweries make more money selling their beer on-site than they do in distribution, so enticing customers to a taproom is an important source of profit. Two Washington, DC production breweries with tasting rooms recently applied for ABRA class C tavern licenses, which will allow them to sell not just their beer, but also cider, wine, and possibly even spirits. This is also good news for the gluten-intolerant, and people who “tag along” to breweries. One is an anecdote, but two are data, so let’s dig in.
“After a long wait and some uncertainty, we were pleasantly surprised with our new ABRA license,” Lost Generation co-founder and co-owner Jared Pulliam told us last week. The Eckington brewery will start with wine: “We want our beer to be our main focus, but do wish to be as accommodating as possible to folks’ various tastes and needs. So for now, we’re adding a few wines (to start we’ll have a white, a red and a rose) and we’ll go from there,” adds Pulliam. When he worked at Lagunitas, fellow Lost Gen co-owner and co-founder Anne Choe managed several Sonoma County restaurants, so look for more soon from someone who knows her way around wine. Cider may follow thereafter.
Up the Metropolitan Beer Trail, Right Proper Brookland is looking forward to having cider on tap “instead of having to open and toss a can each time,” says Bri DeOrsey, taproom manager. They’ll be wine as well, “but not something that outshines the beer. I just want it to be available for those ‘well I came to a brewery but I don’t drink beer’ folks,” she notes. There’s an administrative value to a class C license for the Brookland production brewery, too, because it will have the same regulatory oversight as Right Proper’s Shaw brewpub. Interestingly, Right Proper has plans to serve other breweries’ beers as well, stay tuned.
If you have brewery-hesitant friends, these are two options that should be available soon, and we hear there are also some licensing changes planned at Other Half that will make it easier for them to serve products from their other locations, including winer, cider, and seltzer. Give these places a visit.