Operation Hunker Down
Introducing Operation Hunker Down by Holyoke Craft Beer! First, a little bit about us. We launched our small 1bbl nano brewery back in 2018 after a successful Kickstarter Campaign and winning first place in a local shark tank style pitch competition for entrepreneurs launching businesses in Gateway Cities like Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Holyoke Craft Beer started as a dream of owner Mike Pratt to bring a brewery to the Holyoke community as a spot to gather and share exciting beer in the midst of a local revitalization. As residents of Holyoke, Mike and his wife Catherine wanted to make a positive, lasting contribution to their own hometown. Over the course of almost three years from first opening our doors, we did exactly that.
We started with opening our cozy, basement taproom every Friday evening. A trip to our taproom brings patrons in touch with both the modern brewing process and the historical industrial era architecture of our home building at 208 Race Street. Our grand opening brought over 500 people to our inviting space. What a start!
As our lineup of available beers expanded, so did our following. With that growth we were able to provide new entertainment options to our dedicated fans. We began to invite local musical talent to play, hosted trivia nights, had DJs spin, held a yoga session, and put on a theme night or two. We had a blast doing local events such as Celebrate Holyoke, the Holyoke Canoe Club Brewfest, the Volleyball Hall of Fame fundraiser, The Plan Grand Opening, Big Brother Big Sister Brews and Bites fundraiser, The Worthy Fest, and many more. With every event we felt as though our presence was growing. In the Spring of 2020 we were planning to have a huge St. Patrick’s day at the Holyoke Road Race with our PeoplesStout brewed in collaboration with PeoplesBank. We were on a roll and so happy to see things really coming together.
Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and overnight things changed for us. We no longer could welcome our fans to our taproom due to health concerns and state restrictions. So we pivoted! We transitioned to a strictly curbside offering with online ordering and beer-to-go pick-ups. Our customers returned week in and week out for an entire year eagerly anticipating a time we could once again share a pint at the bar. Our loyal following kept us going and even gave us the energy to dig deep into our creative side throughout it all. Even after an intense year, we found the energy to collaborate with some local artists to bring a special music video filmed at the brewery for the city of Holyoke to enjoy from home for St.Patrick’s day 2021 for the release of new Irish Stout called “Rolling in the Clover”.
As the spring of 2021 approached and the vaccines continued to be rolled out, we saw an opportunity to pour pints in a safe way outdoors. So we pivoted again, and we launched an incredibly successful beer garden at Armour Yard in collaboration with the owners of The Cubit Building. This quickly became the spot to be in Holyoke on Saturdays during the summer with food trucks and the Holyoke Farmers Market joining in on the fun.
Our plan was to reopen the taproom as the cooler months approached and Covid 19 receded. Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of our control in our current space and the persistence of Covid, we no longer see a path forward in our current location for our taproom. This is a huge blow to us as the taproom was key to our financial success and core to our mission.
So our plan is simple. Pivot! We’ve done it before and we know we can do it again. We are asking both our followers that love our beer and folks that wish for a thriving Holyoke economy to give us the chance to stay alive by supporting our Indiegogo Campaign while we work towards finding a new home for our taproom and navigate what we hope will be the last challenge of this awful pandemic.
Our plan that we have set out is to raise enough money ahead of time to allow us to forecast properly, pay for our rent, payroll, utilities, supplies, and more for the next 6 months so we don’t need to hibernate until next spring. In order to do that, we are looking for upfront can orders so we manage production while providing you the highest quality beer possible. Our campaign offers different levels of commitment from one 4-pack per month of our beer up to a full case (24 cans) per month. Without these up front commitments we would likely need to shut down production through the winter until we can reopen Armour Yard, and we really don’t want to do that. This campaign requires all or nothing to make it work. Your pledge will only be fufilled if we raise the full $16,000 by midnight on October 31st! So we are really counting on your loyalty and support one more time to keep us open and keep Holyoke vital.
If you haven’t had a chance to try any of beers you can find us on draft at the following locations below:
Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton
99 Restaurant on Liberty St. in Springfield
99 Restaurant in the Holyoke Mall
The Boathouse in South Hadley
Smith’s Billiards in Springfield
Murphy’s Pub in Agawam
Delaney House in Holyoke
Tavern on the Hill
Paper City Bar & Grill
White Lion Brewing Dandelion at MGM in Springfield
Upcoming Tasting Events with Holyoke Craft Beer:
Wykoff Country Club Chamber of Commerce Event 9/20
The Big E Valley Malt Tent West Springfield 9/21
Gasoline Alley with Monsoon Roaster Springfield 9/25
Mike’s Maze Sunderland 10/15 and 10/29
Night Market at Depot Square Holyoke 10/30