Back in the beginning of 2017 when we first filed for our Federal Basic Permit, we did take on a very small number of memberships to help support our small operations in the early going.
We currently sell our bottles through 3 avenues: 1) Through memberships, 2) through (extremely limited) sales to partnering retailers, and 3) through public tasting sessions, when available.
The members get priority access to our offerings and in some cases, member exclusive offerings, though we try to ensure we have a healthy amount (in relation to the total batch size) available for public release. We have facilitated some of our releases through retail partners in Wisconsin thus far, and plan to partner up with more down the road. Our public tasting sessions are not a guarantee, but if we happen to have bottles available we will do our best to facilitate a release during those sessions.
We feel as though we have outgrown our previously used lottery program. As more people have continued to enter, our bottles available never increased due our capacity limitations. As such, we felt that running the lottery program was leading to the same people constantly missing an opportunity. Instead, we have moved to an approach of holding public tasting sessions (first come first served, when available), and if we happen to have bottles available we will offer them up through some means.
Given our current plans for scale, we have no immediate plans to reopen memberships. Right now, our focus is on crafting new recipes at a scale that makes sense for our current operation. As we progress and look for the right opportunities for expanding our capacity, we will assess our processes and determine if/when we will reopen memberships. At this time, though, we are considering memberships closed.
Our current location is on North Lewis Ave. in Beach Park, Illinois. This facility will be used primarily as a production location. Our scale early on has been on the smaller side. Most of our current equipment is 1bbl, and while we have several fermenters, the amount we can produce will be limited.
We will have a small retail section for bottles to go during releases/pickup windows, though our location in Beach Park will not have a taproom open every day. The production activities taking place here will be to support 3 main goals: 1) memberships, 2) limited distribution of core products, and 3) bottles and samples for special events/releases to the public.
For many reasons, we started up on a shoestring budget…and while we didn’t initially have the resources or bandwidth to invest in a taproom, our plans are to acquire a second location in a surrounding area that will be a great fit for a taproom once our business grows. Our current plan is to be able to work towards this after some time in operation, but this will of course depend on our ability to scale without sacrificing quality, demand for our products, and approval processes.
Unfortunately, at this time, Pips Meadery has no general operating hours. Our facility is primarily a production site for meads that are released during our lotteries or distributed to partnering retailers for bottle release events off premise. We hope that as we continue to scale, we’ll be able to find a better way to carry some standard hours, though we know it will be some time before we can get there