In early 2015 both my husband and I had corporate jobs but just knew that we wanted to do more. We had narrowed it down to getting some property and starting a non-profit animal rescue, opening a small micro-brewery, or opening a craft beer tap house.
Like most people frustrated with our then, current “corporate” positions, we struggled to find our path, so we spent our weekends traveling to breweries and craft bars. Then it came to us. We loved the craft beer industry. Not all the bits and pieces, of course (it can be a dirty job), but the people. This was the first industry that I had found so many people that were eager to help those that were also in the same industry. You could sit at a tap room bar and hear stories about how one brewery didn’t have the hops or grain that they needed to keep brewing so another local brewery would lend them some. We heard these kinds of stories time and time again. We couldn’t begin to count the times that we would walk into a brewery to see brewers and staff from another local brewery showing support.
This is when we knew what we wanted to do.
We started looking for the perfect place to build our legacy by supporting craft beer in general, but most importantly, local craft beer.
We had little money but a ton of support, and together, we built a small-town craft beer bar with a local focus. Our goal was to not only support the industry but to introduce as many people in our area as possible with great, local liquid.
Feeding off online pictures, you-tube videos, anyone that would share advice, and “some” construction experience, we built everything from the ground up. The bar, the pallet wood stools, the thirty-tap system and everything that code didn’t require a contractor for we tackled. Many of our friends had never held so much as a nail gun before but by the time we were done, we were all professionals.
The result of all that hard work was a, made from scratch, locally owned craft beer bar that we are so proud to call home. Any time we are able to sit at our hand-crafted farmhouse tables and look around at what we created, every time we have a local musician plays and the whole room is sings along, to each time we have a local brewery out to share our Brü family with, we are reminded that all of the blood, sweat, and tears are worth it.
Within our first year open, the landlord approached us about leasing the front units for a restaurant. In the beginning, to be honest, we had very little interest in food but the longer Brü was open the more we realized that we had to try. So, we thought long and hard about what having a restaurant would mean to us. We deliberated back and forth constantly. Having visited many food trucks during our brewery visits, we knew we wanted something like that. What we came up with is BTW or Burgers Tacos Waffles. Three food truck styles menu portions in one brick & mortar building. We could not have dreamed that BTW would take off the way that it did.
We have received many accolades in our nearly two years in business including being nominated for The Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards Best Newcomer in 2019 and for the last two years we have won Best Burger in Lake & Sumter Style Magazine. We are very flattered that so much has happened in such a short time.
With that being said, just weeks ago we opened our third “entity”. It is part of BTW, but we fondly refer to it as Crafted Concoctions. When the unit came available next door less than one year after BTW opened, the landlord reached out once again to see if we were interested. At the time we said no, fearing that first year in business as a restaurant, and all the horror stories that you hear. But one-night Rebecca had a dream that we opened it as a coffee & cocktail bar. So, we called Annette the building owner, the next day and signed the lease.
This new location boasts locally roasted coffee out of Groveland and a bar staff that brings cocktails back to the classics. What will become of this location has yet to be seen but we have many fun and exciting things in store.
We never forgot about those animals that need rescuing either. Each year, for our anniversary, we hold an annual beer festival called Brütoberfest. Held in late September, we pull together with a bunch of craft breweries to celebrate the craft and to increase awareness about our local non-profit animal rescue, Misfit. During this event, we were able to raise hundreds of dollars to donate to them because every brewery bring swag to raffle. The Misfit’s crew also brings out several fur babies that need homes. And each year our fest goers find room in their hearts for a new family member.
My advice is to be sure to do something you love.
I am often asked what made us finally decide to quit our jobs and do all of this, if it was hard, would you do it again, and do you have any advice for anyone else that may be thinking about “taking the leap”. While these can be difficult questions to answer at times, when the dust settles from the chaos that we live daily, I wouldn’t change a thing. I would absolutely do it again. My advice is to be sure to do something you love. Anything is possible if you listen to the advice of those that care about you and you never stop trying to achieve your dreams.