As breweries across the nation grappled with COVID-19 restrictions that impacted sales, Matt Therrien looked to the great outdoors to make sure his Northern Michigan brewery, Lake Ann Brewing Co., would buck the trend.
That started by putting up a 30x30 tent that “got the job done,” Therrien said, but was by no means a suitable permanent solution. Located in a pocket of Northern Michigan that’s no stranger to harsh winters and heavy snowfalls, Therrien needed a custom structure that was big enough to hold at least 100 people and heavy-duty enough to handle the unpredictable behavior of Mother Nature.
After researching solutions, Therrien was sold on a 30x40 Future Trac custom structure — the largest frame tent offered by TentCraft. The frame tent, he said, checked all of his requirements for the brewery:
A Heavy-Duty Frame Tent
Lake Ann Brewing Co.’s Future Trac frame tent includes two gable ends and a roof that’s steep enough roof that to prevent snow from piling on top. The brewery also opted for future walls around the entire structure that, with the help from portable heaters, will keep patrons nice and toasty warm inside.
Therrien plans on keeping the tent up for most of the year, which is acceptable with a Future Trac system. The engineered solution was designed for extreme high-wind tolerance, making it a suitable semi-permanent structure.
A Flexible Solution for Live Music
Live music drives business at Lake Ann Brewing Co., which is why it’s not uncommon to see acts playing several nights each week — including in the winter. But sometimes it’s simply too cold for a band to perform.
The brewery’s current setup includes a permanent wooden stage on the southern edge of the property. On those extra cold days, Therrien envisions bands moving into the heated tent. With 1,200 square feet of space, there’s plenty of room for a live act to play and patrons enjoy some delicious IPAs.
“We don’t take days off,” Therrien said. “That’s why we needed a solution to comfortably keep the music going all winter.”
The Future Trac’s strong keder tube system allows the end-user to adjust the walls for a number of different configurations, making it a perfect solution for live music.
A Gathering Place During Inclement Weather
No matter the season, when bad weather strikes, patrons of Lake Ann Brewing Co. want to continue enjoying their craft beverages.
The brewery’s old 30x30 tent could snugly fit 14 picnic tables, which each sit up to eight people — or about 100 people. The extra space with their new 30x40 will allow them to accommodate even more people who are looking for protection from the weather.
Investing in a Quality Custom Brewery Tent
Any investment in a small business can be difficult and needs to be scrutinized. But after looking at his books from the pandemic, Therrien realized he couldn’t afford not to make an investment in a quality structure that transforms
Even with reduced hours, sales at Lake Ann Brewing Co. increased 20% during the pandemic — proof that the brewery’s customers not only love the beers, but are also supportive of enjoying those drinks outdoors, even in the dead of winter.
The brewery uses community seating, so no one is ever turned away or told to wait because it’s “too busy.” That could mean simply standing around if all picnic tables are filled, or finding refuge under the frame tent.
Opting to Skip Branding
All TentCraft products can be customized with a brewery’s branding. That could be something as simple as printing a logo on a gable or doing a full-blown marketing experience across the tent’s entire vinyl canvas.
Therrien decided to forgo any branding, though. The decision was two-fold: He wanted to save money, but more importantly, if his brewery ever went in a different direction, he feels it would be easier to re-sell his tent if it’s not branded. Also, he can always opt to print a custom gable with the brewery’s logo on it in the future.
In 2020, another Michigan brewery, Keweenaw Brewing Co., invested in a 25x25 Future Trac frame tent from TentCraft, but included the brewery's logo on the front gable. The tent doubled as an awning to the brewery's entrance, which is why branding made sense in that case. TentCraft can always print branding for a gable after purchasing the frame tent system.
Installing a Future Trac Frame Tent
The Future Trac frame tent at Lake Ann Brewing Co. took about three hours to install with a team of about six people, including some professionals from TentCraft. It’s best to install the tent on a day when there isn’t much wind, which makes the job considerably more difficult.
The brewery is initially going to ballast the structure using filled water barrels at each corner, but eventually will secure it with heavy concrete blocks.
Customize Your Brewery Tent with TentCraft
TentCraft has plenty of experience helping brewery’s customize the perfect solution for any application, from a more permanent structure like the one at Lake Ann Brewing Co., to an easy-to-assemble, heavy-duty 10x10 pop-up tent that can be used at outdoor beer festivals. Contact TentCraft today to start the process — no matter the weather!