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reflections on opening, Looking Forward

Updated: Jan 7, 2022

As you've hopefully heard, we finally sold some beer. What an incredibly overwhelming and wonderful couple of months it has been.

The first beer we sold was brewed for the Beer Garden at Walnut Valley Festival and each day it sold out, each day progressively faster. Thanks to all of you bluegrassers who waited in line and ordered the Ladybird on tap. AND thanks for making our beer the first "legal" beer poured at the Walnut Valley Festival, which is something we will feel eternally proud about. Next year will be the 50th year of WVF. Mark yourself out the THIRD WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER, because we've got some special beers/festivities in the works! On October 30 we opened the nest for the first time for a small private event for Southwestern College Alumni... Then we had a "soft" opening on November 6 when we started a rumor that we'd be open only 24 hours before we planned to open. Rumors spread fast in a small town and on social media. We had a shockingly big crowd show up... It was pretty crazy. And then, what we truly consider to be our first real day of business, we promoted a pop-up opening on November 27 and had over 800 people come to our tiny little brewery between the hours of 1pm and 11pm... So henceforth the weekend after Thanksgiving will be our anniversary party, please save the dates. As we write this, in all, we've been open to the public eight times. We've run out of six beers so far... RIP: Alligator Queen Brown Ale, Golden Girls Blonde Ale, Cool Mom Saison I, Part-Time Suzie Pale Ale, Thirty Something Dry Stout, and Please Pass the Pale Ale Good news on the production front, we'll be kegging three new beers to have on tap this Saturday, January 8. We're feeling reflective, so here are a couple of thoughts on doing the thing... People showed up for us! We are grateful to have an incredible group of supporters. We've already established a little band of regulars, an eclectic group with some shared characteristics: they have a lot of patience - waiting in lines that often run out our front door. They are wildly kind - showering us with encouragements. They get it - they are building community each time they come hangout at Ladybird. Also, our family showed up for us (HELLO!). Our family has dropped what they are doing multiple times to come help us wash dishes, clear tables, take orders, and then clean the place up after a busy night. We're so fortunate to have this wacky loving family we have. They are the wind beneath our wings.

Make more beer. We should've had way more beer on hand when we opened. Maybe we

should've been more prepared for the thirsty crowds that descended, but we just did not imagine that we'd have so many people showing up, so consistently. What an excellent problem to have.

We're thankful for the patience of our visitors who have been excited to try whatever styles of beer we have available. Also, thank goodness for the support of guest taps. We are trying to catch up... to then keep up. We're brewing as quickly as we can.

Little tired, lotta love. We could talk about the stress and strains of the buildout process here, but... pass. Opening has been a whirlwind and we've been burning the candle at both ends for approximately 16 months. Often it's hard to know how tired we are because we're so excited. For five-plus years we've been dreaming and imagining what it would be like to be where we are today, and honestly, it's way better than we thought it would be. Not many people are lucky enough to be able to see their dreams become a reality, so mostly our hearts are full of love and gratitude, even if our bodies are kind of tired and we look a little disheveled most of the time. Enough with the looking back. Looking forward... Flight Crew, Assemble! We're thrilled to have three staff (so far) helping us run the place... Ashlee (duh), Jamieson, and Keaton. All excellent people -- friendly hosts, who we trust. We hope you'll get to know them in the coming months. We're planning to add a couple more to the squad when we extend our hours in February.

Events. We're working on planning a couple of events in the coming months. We will be celebrating Kansas Day on January 29 -- special beer release, gravel bike ride, Kansas-y foods and products... Maybe a box turtle race? (just kidding, the box turtles are busy napping right now) AND in February we're cooking up a Galentine's gathering that would make Leslie proud. We'll be partnering with our local Soroptimists club on February 13. Details to come!

Patio/Beer Garden Improvements. We are also working on some fun improvements to our patio which will extend our seating a bit in these cool weather months and we have started planning out our beer garden space in the lot behind the brewery. We are hoping to have that completed by this summer.

New Apparel. We've partnered with a creative whiz from Kinfolk Created and will be releasing a couple of new shirts in short order (be on the lookout for those). Additionally, we've got a new order of our crewneck sweatshirts in stock and next week should have some sweet stocking caps coming in hot to keep those beautiful noggins extra warm and stylish.

So, anyway, we're really doing it - that's the summary. In January, we'll be open on Saturdays 1pm to 10pm and we plan to extend our hours in February.

We hope to see you soon, until then stay thirsty, birds. XOXO Your Ladybirds

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