It’s remarkable for an establishment that’s only been in business in the Hingham Shipyard for a year, and for those in charge at the Boston-based company, that success is only the beginning.
“We’re looking forward to certainly building the business,” said Joe Ferrari, director of restaurant operations and guest services for Beer Works. “I feel like we had a successful first year, but feel like we could do a lot better.”
Although the future of the business is unknown, the foundation for success is there – the picturesque waterfront is visible from giant windows and a patio deck next to the restaurant. The nearby commuter train, commuter boat, and even large boating community has brought business to the area day after day.
The movie theater and neighboring establishments has also meant a steady stream of customers, and Beer Works’ well-known name has people coming to the South Shore restaurant in droves.
“We’re thrilled to death in today’s economy that we were able to open the restaurant,” said Joel Pinkwas, Beer Works’ corporate chef. “It's gone very successful for us, has exceeded our sales projections… and we’re proud we were able to create 75 jobs in this economy.”
Now that the establishment has worked out the kinks of a first year, executives are looking to boost sales even more – bringing more families out for dinner, offering more beer varieties on the menu, and streamlining the business to run things more smoothly.
“When you open any restaurant, you look for what you can improve. I think we know the business now, and can execute things a bit better,” Ferarri said.
Hingham is the fifth for the home-grown company's beer-centered market. It opened for business in the Shipyard in the winter of last year, two years after another Beer Works opened in Lowell.
Besides that, the chain has their Fenway Boston Beer Works that opened in 1992, a Salem restaurant that opened in 96’, and one on Canal Street in Boston that opened in 2001.
As company officials see it, being able to open new restaurants in a recession will only bode well as the economy starts to pick up.
“We’ve opened two to three restaurants despite [the recession]. We’re optimistic,” Ferrari said. “If we can make it in these times, when things turn around we’ll be in a position to be doing very well,”
Still, the company wants to keep things local.
“Beer Works is really a local brand,” Pinkwas said. “It started right across the street from Fenway 20 years ago, and there are only five locations in 20 years. We’re trying to be a local establishment that makes really fresh beer… the folks down in Hingham and the South Shore have really welcomed us, and it’s a good feeling.”
To commemorate the year of success, the establishment will release an Anniversary Ale – available in Hingham now.
“We do something that isn’t normally available. Usually it's stronger, [with] more flavor,” said Tim Morse, the director of brewing for Beer Works. “The head brewer at the [Hingham] location came up with a Belgian style golden ale that he wanted to do, and I gave him a big thumbs up with that, and we got in some special yeast and special Belgian malt.”
As beer is the centerpiece for the businesses, it will remain the focus as things move forward. Morse doesn’t plan on expanding the brewing volumes, although there is an endless list of varieties to brew on a monthly basis.
“We have 160 beer recipes we filter through, not every year, but we keep coming up with new versions, and we’ll brew what the market will bear,” Morse said.
The anniversary isn’t the only occasion the Beer Works family has been look towards. Seasonal brews and food are also being marketed now as all five locations make their way toward fall.
From the Pumpkin Works Ale to the Butternut Squash Ravioli, they are seasonal favorites that Pinkwas expects will draw customers in.
“We’re just trying to be creative, be fun, and give the guests something different each time,” Pinkwas said.