Attic Brewing Company has not only not laid anyone off, but they have doubled the size of their team and partnered with over a dozen local organizations and donated more than $14,000 to Germantown non-profits last year.
In this past year of almost unprecedented hardship for small businesses, it is no secret that countless small businesses in the city have either gone out of business, laid off most employees or are barely hanging on, possibly with a drawer full of unpaid bills for rent, electricity, phone, food, etc.
But Attic Brewing Company, which opened a 6,000-square-foot taproom and brewery at 137 W. Berkley St. in Germantown's Wayne Junction just two months before the pandemic started, has not only not laid anyone off, but they have doubled the size of their team and partnered with over a dozen local organizations and donated more than $14,000 to Germantown non-profits last year.
Attic, which was born thanks to more than 300 investors who crowd-funded it via Instagram, put on “Give Back Beers” events throughout 2020, and on March 27 they put on their first one in 2021. One dollar from every “Solidarity 'Shine” beer sold went to the Philadelphia Chapter of the Pink Boots Society, and another dollar went to the Germantown Mutual Aid Fund, a female-led organization that has raised and given out more than $95,000 to Germantowners affected by COVID-19. Attic's taproom had 1200 16-ounce cans available and six kegs for draft.
How were those two non-profits selected out of so many in the Northwest? “The Pink Boots Collaboration is an annual event in the brewing industry,” explained Laura Lacy, 38, who owns Attic with her husband, Todd, 40. The pair have been brewing their own beer for years and bringing it to community events such as the Juneteenth Festival, where they raise funds for Johnson House in Germantown.
“One of the large hop producers creates a special Pink Boots blend and donates a portion of the sales to the Pink Boots Society (PBS),” said Laura. (PBS is an international non-profit that supports women in the brewing profession, especially in creating craft beer. All members must be women and have a career in the brewing world or related to beer or beer-making.)
Attic Brewing produced 700 barrels last year with a 10-barrel brewhouse. “2020 was a very challenging year for us,” said Laura. “We changed our business model from selling beer over the bar to canning our beer almost overnight. We bought a can seamer and individually canned over 75,000 cans last year. We offered customers free shipping and delivered beer all over the Philadelphia area.
“When we could have outdoor seating again, we turned our parking lot into an outdoor beer garden with 150 seats. But honestly, it has been the support of our community that kept our business growing, and we are so thankful.”
Attic Brewing has also been able to keep booking events. As long as the weather cooperates, they have live music every Wednesday and host the Germantown Outdoor Market every Sunday with local vendors, food trucks and live music.
“We're woman-owned,” said Laura, “so there's a lot of lady love and empowerment down here. We also won a Great American Beer Festival silver medal for our Bloodhound Brown Ale. It's the largest professional brewing competition in the world, so it was exciting to win one in our first year.”
While enjoying Attic's beers, many patrons purchase food from Deke's BBQ next door or one of the rotating food trucks that come by the beer garden — from sliders to pizza to tacos. And we are all familiar with BYOB restaurants, but Attic Brewery is the only one I know of that is BYOF. Customers may bring their own food or even have food delivered to the brewery.
“Keeping Attic Brewing open during the pandemic is the hardest thing I've ever done,” said Laura. “Our team's health and safety was our number one priority. We were constantly navigating Covid regulations and trying to find funds to keep our business afloat. We saw how hard our community was affected by Covid, so we tried to lend a hand, like opening the taproom to Kidz Meals on Wheels or hiring a local artist to paint a mural in the beer garden. Feeling like we were all in this together gave us a purpose beyond providing beer (which so many people needed, too). And my husband still works a full-time job to pay our bills. All of our family live out of state, so it's been hard personally not being able to see them.”
For more information, visit atticbrewing.com. Len Lear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org