PORTLAND, Ore. — When it comes to design, SUM Design Studio + architecture has lately brewed up some good stuff.
Along with planning spaces at such spots as Cascade Brewing House and Ex Novo, the firm recently signed off on a new spot in Depoe Bay. The Portland office specializes in adaptive reuse and closely tracks brewery design trends, a handy skill in a state that adds new breweries seemingly every week.
We asked the firm to share some of the lessons it's gleaned in crafting new breweries. It responded with a flurry of pictures of its work that illustrate specifically what SUM's designers have learned.
Slideshow: See the firm's 10 lessons
We also asked Matt Loosemore, the company's principal and co-founder, to, in an email interview, detail the firm's strategies.
Are breweries one of your specialties? If so, how did SUM find itself working with so many breweries? We like to think so. We understand the process, but really we enjoy the end result. If you don’t like getting your shoes wet and smelling like beer, brewery design is not for you.
For the most part, I think there’s a mutual respect between the two crafts. You’ve got to have the ability to think fast. Just like the beer, there are no two breweries alike. It’s not a cookie cutter process for design. Sum is able to recognize good space and look past what some can’t, which helps create a vision.
What are some of the mistakes that you see other designers make when creating brewery plans? Typically, it’s when the design doesn’t fit the beer. Spaces can be too kitschy and try too hard. Creating distracting space takes away from what’s most important, the product. Many fast food and restaurant chains are guilty of this. Think original.
Portland continues to add tons of breweries. Do you see the segment slowing down any time soon? I’m not sure, but I’ve seen the data that shows the numbers of breweries rapidly growing, but so are the closings. As I’ve discussed with others, it seems like a risky time to enter the market right now, but that’s not the business I’m in. From what I’ve heard and experienced, it’s been a pretty tough battle out there to sell everything from pints to kegs, so you better have a good product and be positioned well (location, educated staff, branding, and the dollars). That being said, there’s no us without them, so we’ll do what we can to help.
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