I had just partnered Down the Road Brewing to make umbrellas out of their tap handles. I dropped off the umbrellas at their awesome new tap room in Everett, took a couple of photos of the umbrellas with the rest of their merch and posted it up onto Instagram.
I was psyched to be working Down the Road, particularly because of how great their tap handle design is, so I was already on cloud nine. The likes and comments started to come in, then I got a comment from Mass Brewers Guild saying they’d love to connect via email. I didn’t know what the plan was but I knew that if the Guild was interested in something I’d be all for it as well.
Then I got the email, it was from Katie the Executive Director of the Mass Brewers Guild. The annual brewers guild meeting was coming up where over 160 craft brewers and members were going to be gathering to bring the craft community together. This particular meeting was also going to celebrate the service of four members of the board that were going to be stepping down. Dan Kenary (owner / founder of Harpoon Brewery), Ned LaFortune (owner / founder of Wachusett), Rob Martin (owner / founder of Ipswich Ales), Gary Bogoff (owner / founder Berkshire Brewing Co), were all going to be departing the board and Katie had been trying to figure out what she could give them to thank them for their work. When she came across the custom tap handle umbrellas that I make she knew it would be perfect. The only problem is that the event was just over two weeks away so it was going to be a mad scramble to get everything together.
The first thing that needed to happen is I needed to get the tap handles. Tap handles are always going out to bars when they’re putting a new beer on tap so breweries may have plenty of taps on hand or they may have just sent them all out for a special event or a tap takeover. Katie reached out to the different breweries to see what they could do on such short notice. We started getting updates and shipping confirmation from the different breweries, Harpoon, Ipswich, Wachusett all shipped out and arrived. Then we hit a snag, I got an update from Katie that we might not be able to get a tap from BBC in time…
As I had been connecting with brewers I found that brewers tend to be short on tap handles when they do a redesign. I knew that BBC had introduced a new tap design not that long ago so I thought they might be short on stock. When I hadn’t gotten an update on their taps I checked around to see what I could get and picked up a couple of their taps just in case. I gave Katie the update, and we were back on track.
I had already been working on converting the individual taps into umbrellas as they came in but with all four of the taps I was able to complete the job. The umbrellas were in their finished form my the end of the 29th of January less than a week and a half from when I first heard from Katie, by the 31st they were in her hands and on the 6th of February the annual guild meeting went off without a hitch.
About that guild meeting, even the governor attended and had this to say about local response to breweries across the state “I go around the state, and when I say what do they need, they tell me they need a craft brewery in their downtown” – Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts.