The Boston Beer Company has made Samuel Adams one of the best-known craft-brewed American beers in the world. In addition to creating and distributing exceptional lagers and ales, the Boston Beer Company has also managed its brand exceptionally well. By inviting its followers to enjoy limited release beers that feature malt and hops varieties blended to complement each season, they constantly reinforce their position as a preeminent craft brewer.
One of Boston Beer’s favorite ways to engage its loyal customers is by hosting them in a “taproom” at their original Boston brewery. When Boston Beer contracted Bergmeyer about designing a second Samuel Adams taproom in Cincinnati, Ohio, we saw opportunities to tell even more stories about this very successful brand, its history, and its values.
Jim Koch, Cincinnati native, sixth-generation brewer, and founder of Samuel Adams Beer, seized the opportunity in 1997 to purchase the Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewery where his father once worked to become Samuel Adam’s second brewery location. 20 years later, Jim’s dream of opening a taproom at the Samuel Adams Cincinnati brewery has been realized creating a sociable experience where Cincinnatians can enjoy unique, locally brewed beer.
Boston Beer’s major goal for the Cincinnati Tap Room was to reinforce Samuel Adams’ brand identity. To do this, Bergmeyer’s design scope included architect, interior design, graphic design (menu, interior signage, environmental graphics) and the selection and procurement of custom art, furniture, and lighting. The brand’s blue color signifies the bar as the heart of the taproom. Sam Adams bottle caps and brown bottle glass were embedded in the bar top. Their patented “Perfect Pint Glasses” are highlighted in a custom chandelier made with 46 Sam Adams glasses.
A second important design objective was telling stories about the brewing process. This was done both with subtlety – as in the use of copper materials referencing traditional brewing equipment – and with dramatic effect as glass walls allow guests to see the brewmasters in action, and create the perfect backdrop for beer drinking. State-of-the-art serving tanks allow guests to drink fresh beer straight from the tank, many flavors being exclusive to the taproom. A final important design objective was celebrating craft brewing itself. Samuel Adams is proud to be the pioneer of the craft beer movement and continues to craft innovative flavors. Enlisting the skilled craftsmanship of the Over-The-Rhine community, we partnered with a local illustrationist to produce “area rug” floor murals highlighting Cincinnati history, and local makers to produce hand-crafted furniture. A Boston artist was commissioned to produce the murals behind the bar that celebrates Jim’s story, the city of Cincinnati, and the company’s history of brewing.