Dogfish Head brewery in Milton has renovated its tasting room, opening the floor plan to create a comfortable work environment for its employees.
Dogfish Tour Manager Matt Fetherston said planning on the project began in early 2019. The look of the space hasn’t changed too much; the biggest change is behind the bar. But with that change, the entire floor plan opened up, allowing a more efficient flow.
“Just the flow of the room needed a change,” Fetherston said. “We are experiencing an increase in guests every year. We’re at 100,000 guests a year, and the bar was too small to handle that. The more staffing I had to put on to accommodate the guests coming in – it was a roadblock behind the bar. It was just too tight.”
The first step was moving away from storing kegs behind the bar. They are now in cold storage, with lines running to the bar. Fetherston said the kegs in cold storage are daisy-chained to each other and rigged so that when a keg goes out, a fresh keg comes online without having to stop. Kegs are changed out every morning. The only two taps in the bar that are not hooked into the system are the sour beers, which are made with wild yeast and sometimes require cleaning during the day, and a cask tap, which is unfiltered and unpasteurized and served without additional nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure.
“It’s a 400 foot line of beer. Twenty-four lines split in two, so now we have 48 taps. We have multiple taps of our most popular lines, which are 60 Minute, Slightly Mighty and SeaQuench,” Fetherston said.
With no coolers behind the bar, Fetherston said, the bar area now allows more space for employees. The new tap system is still in the middle of the bar, but the space is now more open, so people sitting on one side of the bar can see over to the other side. Without having to change kegs, Fetherston said bartenders can now better serve guests during the busy summer months.
“The room looks twice as big,” he said.
All told, the project took less than three weeks to complete, Fetherston said. Dogfish held an unveiling event Jan. 31, inviting 300 people to come see the new space.
“No one was running into each other, the beer never stopped flowing and we never had to change any kegs,” Fetherston said.
The tasting room will keep a spirits bar with eight keg cocktails on tap. In 2018, prior to taking on this project, Dogfish built a full kitchen on-site, serving pizza, calzones and sandwiches.
“Every year we make a tweak to the operation to make it user-friendly with our guests. We want them to enjoy the experience and stay longer,” Fetherston said.