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Local Brewery taps its customers for insight on reopening

Posted at 9:11 PM, May 04, 2020

MUSKEGO — A local brewery is tapping into its client base to gauge their feelings on the business reopening.

Eagle Park Brewery sent out a survey to see what its customers would need to see to feel comfortable coming back to the taproom.

"For us to kind of gauge what people's thoughts were not his whole situation is the most valuable," said Max Borgardt, President of Eagle Park Brewing Company. "At the end of the day, that is the most important to us; keeping our customers safe and also making sure that we feel like we're taking care of them and they feel we're taking care of them."

The survey includes 12 questions to see where customer's heads are at regarding COVID-19 and visiting the brewery.

Well, technically, it's 13 including a question about Borgardt's brother's attempt at a quarantine mustache.

When would people feel comfortable going back?

Would your own research, the advice of friends and family or officials drive you to feeling comfortable going out?

What are the most important practices you would need to see the brewery do on-site to feel comfortable visiting?

"Those are the things we're going to focus on first because obviously, this is going to be a fluid, ongoing thing," Borgardt said. "We're trying to find out what works for our company. What we feel comfortable with and what our customers feel comfortable with. That's how we're going to go forward. We're not just going to open up right away and let it rip. We need time to figure out the best possible way and, at this point, we're still unsure."

Eagle Park is in the process of opening a new taproom in Muskego. The 20,000 square foot facility is much larger than its current shop on Hamilton Street in Milwaukee. They have capacity for 500 people but as of now, only a few construction workers and brewery employees go through the door each day.

"It's definitely nerve racking," Borgardt said. "It's about the worst timing ever to be doing a massive expansion."

They need customers to support their new site. However, Borgardt is adamant, they need to reopen right, not right away.

"The state can give whatever guidelines they want," Borgardt said. "If people don't feel comfortable coming out, they're not going to come out anyway. That's the biggest thing. Just making sure people feel good about coming back out and frequenting bars and restaurants and taprooms."

Borgardt says he got the idea of sending a survey from a different brewery in the south. Now, they've had nearly 2,000 responses and an overwhelming majority says they'd be willing to come back in for a beer within the next three months.

"We're going through all of the steps to make people feel good," Borgardt said. "But at the end of the day, that's what it's all about. We will do what people ask of us."

Here's the Rebound Rundown:

  • Most people surveyed say after the state allows it, they would feel comfortable visiting a brewery within three months.
  • Nearly 40 percent say they'd visit in June.
  • Nearly 20 percent say they would visit in July.

Borgardt says they will release the responses to the surveys when all is said and done. However, he says customers can expect things to be different whenever they do finally come back through their doors.

But one thing will remain consistent. The beer and the camaraderie.

"This space is a lot bigger," Borgardt said. "We'll space tables out more. There is an outside area that's larger so hopefully we'll have a lot of people outside and spaced out. There is more room to move around. We'll play it by ear. We'll do the right thing."

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