To fully comprehend Club Rockwell, you first must understand the origin story. The original Club Rockwell was located at 2502 N. Rockwell Street in Chicago, and it was open from August 2008 to November 2012. There was always cold beer, the neighbors were awesome, and it was open 24 hours a day. My wife and I also lived there, because “Club Rockwell” is what we called our apartment. This is where I fell in love with the culture of beer and brewing. Without the original Club Rockwell, there would be no Rockwell Beer Company.
Fast-forward to 2016, now there is a new iteration of Club Rockwell. In mid-September, we found out that our neighboring office members at TechArtista were moving out. Suite 213 is located directly between our friends Wesley Hoffman/Corey Smale’s office and our office. After a couple of drinks and a brief team discussion, we knew that there was an awesome opportunity, and we just had to do something with the space.
Our idea was to open the smallest tasting room in the world, after all, Suite 213 is really only built to accommodate two people. We worked closely with Gabe McKee of V Three Studios (who, coincidentally, is also helping us design our tasting room, retail store and production facility on Vandeventer) to optimize the space and create an extraordinarily unique atmosphere. Chris Hoertel handled all of the aesthetics like the beautiful mural, vibrant plant life and incredible artwork hanging on the wall. We decided that we could fit a drink rail, eight chairs, and a kegerator. That’s all we needed to get going. We gutted the office of its previous life, and got to work.
It takes a lot of time and effort every week by our team to make a night at Club Rockwell happen… probably too much, to be honest. Regardless of how fast we want our production facility to open, it still takes a VERY long time to open a brewery. There is permitting, demolition, buildout, equipment ordering and manufacturing which can drag the process out. Just ask anyone who has ever opened a brewery.
We couldn’t just sit and wait until next spring. Club Rockwell gives us the capability to connect with the people of St. Louis in a very intimate setting. Our tiny tasting room for eight people gives us a channel to create new recipes, share them with people and chat with them one-on-one about what Rockwell means to them. We get to share our company culture with you, and we get to see the response to that culture in real time. We do not make any money on The Club, but it’s not about that, it’s about the people. In a way, Club Rockwell is just a social experiment with the addition of cocktails and beer.
Often times when attendees show up to Club Rockwell looking for direction, but honestly there isn’t any. We just let the night organically develop which each unique group. We knew we had to build the space, but we weren’t sure what it would become as we progressed. Past attendees have helped shape future Club Rockwell sessions. Every week the atmosphere and patrons have been completely different, and that is a beautiful thing. You are helping us find our voice creatively. You are helping us find where we belong in the community. You are helping us grow. For that, we are forever thankful.
This week, Club Rockwell opens for the sixth time. This also means that after this weeks event, there are only six more times to visit Club Rockwell in its current iteration. After December 2016, we will be shutting down Club Rockwell at TechArtista forever. It’s nothing to be sad about, because in 2017 we will have some MUCH BIGGER things to focus our attention on. Has it been crazy releasing new beers and cocktails every week? At this scale, absolutely, but we regret nothing. While our lives are much more hectic, we wouldn’t trade this chaos for anything in the world. You know what else is hectic? Opening and running a production brewery. Club Rockwell a nice little appetizer for us.
These three months will be something that we never forget, and these events will shape the future of Rockwell. Every single person that we met through this silly little idea will be our friends forever. Thank you so much for the support from everyone who has already attended, and to our future attendees, let’s make these next six sessions count.
Want to join us this week? Click here.
Shot by Cory Miller - heydoryymiller.com