What a crazy, amazing opening weekend! We were blown away by the show of support by our friends and families and the people of Taylor, many of whom we met for the first time Saturday.
The final week was a mad dash to the finish full of prep and finishing touches. The pint glasses came in the week before, the bar stools arrived on Tuesday, and the air conditioning turned on on Friday. The talented ladies at Red Rider Studios painted a huge mural of our logo, perfectly placed for selfies. Miguel and I painted the chalkboard wall and Faj made us a frame. I learned what a miter box is.
I looked up all of the ABV’s and descriptions of the beer we had on tap. We ran out of room this time, but Miguel made the chalkboard look awesome and used his fancy pastels make the names of the beer match the color of their logos. All kinds of people came out of the woodwork to help get set up — one of the Kickstarter supporters came to help sweep the floors, maj brought flowers that my grandma, Mutti, gave us. She found really cute tin vases for them that looked perfect.
She also had staff shirts made for us. My job for most of opening day was to sell merchandise, and EVERYONE wanted a black shirt, or my gray shirt. Zach, our friend who set up the point of sale systems, kept correcting me when I told people they were only made in a small batch for staff. “We’ll add another vote for the black shirts,” he would tell them. Guess I need to work on my marketing skills. Jeff was a marketing expert though and fanned out all of our merch, the way he does for his band, and sales immediately went up.
After a few speeches (in which JD introduced me as Megan Gins, without missing a beat. Oops. I heard I turned beet red, as I’m known to do), we cut the big ribbon, and we opened the doors! It was so busy for the first few hours. The bartending team was amazing. A few of them took orders and called out “Zoe!, IPA!, Amber!” and the bar backs called back and filled orders. It reminded me a lot of when we were in the back at Ballast Point and everyone seemed so happy to be there. Very proud of that team.
It was so much fun to see so many of our friends from Austin, new friends from Taylor, old friends from high school. People we recognized but couldn’t figure out how we knew them.
Several people whispered “I can’t believe this is actually happening” and things to that effect, with the gleam of awe in their eye. Little do they know, we’ve been pinching ourselves the entire time.
A lot of people thought we put on the whole festival, but really, it’s Taylor’s biggest festival of the year, Blackland Prairie Days. You could paint a pony for $1. This was at the beginning of the day.
A few hours later, with one of our tiniest new friends, Katherine.
JD said he cried a few times because he was so happy.
Other highlights.. Our friends’ band, Ben Balmer, came out to play. JD and I danced for just a tiny bit to some of our favorite songs. The dishwasher held out until the very end of the night and then decided it was finished. Jeff and I shared bean dip and fritos for a snack while we sold hats (he’s vegan now because of his girlfriend). JD’s mom and Amy’s parents flew in. I got to hold 7 month old baby Kai for 20 minutes or so and he just put his head on my shoulder. So sweet.
By the end of the night, we had nearly sold everything we had and were left with just a few options. After the doors were locked and all of the customers went home, the staff stuck around and everyone took turns telling their happiest moment of the night and the strangest thing that had happened. There were some funny stories that I won’t repeat here 😉
But in all of our happiest moments, there was a constant thread of thankfulness, awe and just plain excitement that all of this was happening and seemed to work out so well. Everything came together perfectly. One man who just bought a loft upstairs works for a marketing firm and is a chalkboard expert. Several of the bartenders have been bartenders in the past and wanted a chance to do it again. Every time we needed something, someone was around to help.
We fell into bed around 1:30, slept late, and in the morning when we went to get in the car to go home, Brian from two houses down was in his yard and called out “Great party! Thanks for coming to Taylor!”
It’s been kind of a crazy road getting here, and we know this is just the beginning, but it’s been so much fun and so much work. It will be fun to see where it goes from here. If you came out, thank you. If you haven’t made it up, we look forward to seeing you.