How Entrepreneurs Made NYC’s First Women-Established Craft Beer Brewery

Located in a corner of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Talia Beer Co., the first female-established craft beer brewery in New York City.

To name just a few, with their playful, fruit-forward beer lineup, including “Lunch Date,” “Mango Tango Tart Deco,” and “Overnight Oats Granola Butter.” Talea Beer Co. A new type of craft beer in the 22 22 billion industry is expected to entice consumers.

“Many women and non-beer drinkers don’t drink beer because no brand is talking to them or resonating with them,” said Leanne Darland, co-founder and co-CEO of Talia Beer Co.

Between 2015 and 2018, craft beer drinkers increased by 14.7 million, and about half of these customers are identified as female, according to the Brewers Association. Yet less than 3% of the nationwide craft beer breweries are owned by women.

“We wanted to capture that opportunity in the market and talk to people like us,” said Darland, his co-founder and co-CEO, pointing to Hankinson.

LeAnn Darland (left) and Tara Hankinson (right)

Photo courtesy of Talia Bear Co.

MBAs who quit their six-figure jobs to work in beer

The couple, who both hold MBAs, met Hopsy, a beer start-up that has since stopped working, after giving up their six-figure salary in 2018.

“We just realized that we joined this company with the same desire to make a wine of our own,” said Hankinson. Three months later, the pair formed their own LLC and took their first steps to do just that.

The two often stayed up late after their day job at Hops to build a business. Eventually, they started making their fruit-forward beer at a brewery in the Bronx.

Their first beer, “Sun Up Hasi IPA,” was collected by Whole Foods just two months after it began packaging its beer.

“Sun up Haji IPA.”

Photo courtesy of Talia Bear Co.

“The idea of ​​full Foods approval and stamp proof was crucial in changing the dialogue about whether our beer had a place in New York City, and really validated our product and our vision,” Hankinson said.

They drove around New York City to personally deliver their beer to various bars, restaurants and retailers.

Capital increase in a male-dominated industry

As the business grew, Darland and Hankinson began imagining the benefits that would come with their own drinking and taproom. They quit their jobs to focus on the business full-time because they started raising funds – which was not easy at first.

“When we start pitching, most of the people financing the business are older men,” said Hankinson. “When it comes to sex and beer, people can’t get over it.”

One year later, they raised $ 2.1 million from family, friends and angel investors. They also secured a $ 2 million SBA loan.

Tara Hankinson (left) and LeAnn Darland (right) at Talea Beer Co.’s flagship locations before construction in 2019.

Photo courtesy of Talia Bear Co.

Success comes with its ups and downs. Both women became first-time parents, and while building a wine factory and taproom, Hankinson’s pregnancy kept her in hospital for five weeks.

“We hit a water head and all I can do is look at photos of it from my iPhone,” Hankinson said. “Lian was delivering something and she would pump her mobile breast pump into our delivery van, ‘I hope no one is looking through this window.’

‘Our ability to see forests from trees is growing’

The flagship position was opened in Williamsburg in March 2021 “We just hoped people would come – and they did, and they came in groups,” Darland said.

The company has grown fivefold since opening its flagship position.

In 2020, they sold 300 barrels or the equivalent of 75,000 pints of beer across 100 bars, restaurants and retailers. In 2021, that number sold 1,500 barrels, or the equivalent of 450,000 pints of beer, in taprooms and more than 200 bars, restaurants and retailers.

The flagship location of Talia Bear Co. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as it approaches completion in March 2021.

Photo courtesy of Talia Bear Co.

A second round of funding was completed at just $ 3.5 million as the business expanded.

The new location of Talea Beer Co. will soon open at Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, just four miles from its original location. Other locations are planned in Manhattan and Long Island.

On a recent Friday afternoon, Talea Beer Co. There was a buzz when people entered the taproom As the sun sets, the golden light spreads across the bar and refills the glasses filled with gold and pink beer.

“Our risk tolerance is constantly increasing, the ability to see the forest from trees is increasing,” Hankinson said, above the noise of the taproom. “We just kept going, we just kept going – and we still do.”

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