Even though Brew has been open for a bit, tomorrow is their grand opening and they’ve got some events planned. Mayor Kathy Sheehan will be present (with the novelty scissors) for a ribbon cutting ceremony at 2pm. Afterward Stumptown Coffee Roasters will be holding a public cupping and tasting from 2:30 to 5, and after that Shmaltz Brewing Company will be holding a tasting until 8. This is an awesome way to get familiar with what Brew sells and try some new things all at once.
I did a Q+A with Josh Cotrona and August Rosa, the two guys behind Brew, and you can check out below. Also below you can enter to win a $25 gift card to Brew. Stop by tomorrow, find what you like and maybe you’ll have $25 to spend there early next week when I pick a winner.
You’ve been open since July 4th. Was it a crazy first day because of the foot traffic?
AR: We pretty much got the shop together just in time. There was a 15-minute window to have a quick celebratory drink, and then the crowds came. Nine operating hours flew by and we were surprised how nicely everything came together. The weirdest part was the realization that the shop was set to open at Noon the next day.
Once the holiday weekend passed, how has the neighborhoods reception been?
JC: Our Lark Street neighbors have been very supportive of the business. It’s been very humbling to not be seen as another beer store. We are really trying to do something different and bring something to the neighborhood that wasn’t readily available to begin with.
How was LarkFest?
AR: LarkFEST was a blur. We streamlined our normal day-to-day business to make it easier for everyone and to cut down the wait time as much as possible. The craft cans were so popular that we had to collapse our tent outside to focus our energy on the craft beer side of shop. It was a pretty crazy day.
How did the idea of Brew come about? What was it like going from that idea to reality?
AR: A little over a year ago, I just got a parking spot after heading back from a night class and a long day of work and realized that my fridge was dry. I left the spot to grab some much needed craft beers and when I returned it took me about 20 minutes to find another parking spot. I suppose this frustration gave birth to the idea for the shop.
Why not open in Troy?
AR I couldn’t imagine opening this up in another area. We simply don’t know Troy as well as we know Albany. The activity happening in Troy right now is amazing and we don’t see why the same thing can’t happen in Albany. The short answer to your question: We love Albany!
JC: It really comes down to focusing on what you know. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for a while now so its all I know in a way. When August and I first talked over the idea, I couldn’t help but be confident that it’d work here.
Albany all of a sudden went from having nowhere to buy fresh roasted specialty coffee to a bunch. How have customers reacted to having Stumptown, Tandem and Intelligentsia at their disposal? Same goes for cold brewed coffee.
AR: The specialty coffee program has been steadily growing. It’s pretty awesome to see our coffee orders steadily grow as more and more folks seek out excellent beans. We are really excited for the coffee cupping with Stumptown at our Grand Opening. We are hoping that a lot of people swing by for that tasting and learn more about the coffees we sell.
As a new category of business on Lark Street, what’s another new business you think Lark Street could benefit from?
JC: I think Lark Street could benefit from more retail. Our neighbors and good friends at Seasons have shown for the past four years that people want options other than the mall or big box stores. Same too with new shop, Fort Orange General Store in the Delaware South neighborhood. Both are proving that people are drawn to well thought out and original ideas. It would be nice to see more shops like theirs on the block.
AR: Any shop that doesn’t currently exist and is needed.
Thanks to the guys from Brew for the Q+A and the giveaway. Enter below, good luck! I’ll pick a winner September 30th at 2pm.