Craftsmen Interviews are designed to introduce you to dedicated, hard-working local makers that are cultivating local culture. Short, easy reads that impart valuable knowledge and inspire you to explore and support authentic endeavors. Stay ahead of upcoming trends and get recommendations from those helping to build their community. (-Learn more)
“Our mission is to expand community through quality local craft beer, without barriers to race, gender, or sexual orientation.”Tim Piotrowski – Chief Beer Officer and Founder of Delta Beer Lab
Nestled right off the belt line in Madison, WI sits a wonderful craft brewery, community gathering place and social laboratory that is Delta Beer Lab. Operating with experience as their basis, this company put their money where their mouth is and decided that the only way to conduct business in this space is to make sure to produce a top-tier product, support the staff with a living wage and revenue sharing, and donate monthly to their featured community partners through their giveback program.
Delta Beer Lab is truly an exemplary company that is welcoming to all, and serves the Madison community in an inclusive and wholistic manner. They really were the perfect partner for our first featured venue month in Wisconsin!
TIM PIOTROWSKI – The Mini-Interview
I had the opportunity to speak with Tim Piotrowski (AKA “Pio”) of Delta Beer Lab and talk about their mission, how they’re adjusting to the challenges of reopening after the pandemic shut down, and their current on-goings and ways to support their philanthropy and community building efforts.
Below is the interview with Pio, which details some great information about their community partnerships, and current objectives as they celebrate their three-year anniversary this February.
what is the inspiration and mission behind Delta and what are some things that you’re doing differently than others in the area?
“When I set out to start my own brewery, social justice was an important distinction about what our small business could do for our community, and how we could be an example of business doing good and business doing well at the same time. Our mission is to expand community through quality local craft beer, without barriers to race, gender, and sexual orientation. We foster a lot of activity and interest in those areas; one of the biggest and most unique ways that we do that is that we want our staff to work for our mission as opposed to working for tips, so we pay our staff a living wage based on the city of Madison’s living wage, which changes each year with inflation. They also get revenue sharing, so that they can get more than just a living wage.
We also knew that our guests would still want to leave tips. So, from the first day, we chose a different non-profit partner, usually every month, and they’re local and doing direct impact work in our community. All the tips from that month get donated to that organization. So far, through that and the ‘Black is Beautiful Beer Program‘, Delta and our guests have donated over $100,000 in our first three years.”
THIS MONTH’S FEATURED NON-PROFIT: “The Madison Reading Project, which aims to get donated books and also purchase books for families that don’t have books in the home, so that kids have access to materials to read and expand their imaginations, their knowledge base, and really just create opportunities in low-income households.”
What are some current challenges the industry is facing in the wake of the pandemic, and how has Delta adjusted to that?
The pandemic has been a challenge. We opened 13 months before Dane County had their first shut down. Revenue has definitely been the biggest impact, because folks are going out less often. We had to shift to a packaging model for quite a long time, which also has a bit of a silver lining since we put in a bigger canning line in order to handle the demand, which we’ll be continuing to use for years and years and years.
The biggest challenge we have now is getting the revenue back so we can support our staff and our growth, but the cost of all materials are going up. We had malt price increases 4 times in the last 12 months. The cost of our cans and lids are going up. We haven’t seen it so much in hops and labels, but shipping has gone up. The first hit was in revenue, and then that was followed up with a hit in the cost of many of the materials that go into our beer. We want to keep our prices reasonable, so we absorbed a lot of that and we just have to balance it and make sure that it’s good for our guests and our customers at the retail level.
WHAT IS THE #1 thing that the average consumer can do to support the efforts of Delta Beer Lab?
Come and visit! The biggest thing you can do is get vaccinated. We only require proof of vaccination for weekly trivia and once a month drag queen bingos when we’re bringing a lot of people into the lab. Taking care of yourself so you can take care of your neighbors is the biggest thing. Come out and have some great beers, spend time with your friends, talk to our brewers about what’s coming down the pipe.
The biggest event we have coming up is our 3rd anniversary party, we call it “Delta-versary.” That’s on Saturday February 19th, that will be proof of vaccination required, and we have live music, food carts, special beer releases, and a good opportunity to celebrate three years, or 13 months plus a pandemic.
A Map to DELTA BEER LAB
“Find businesses that are doing the right thing, do not be afraid to read their story and know what they are doing“
delta beer lab – madison, WI
Beer Recommendation: – View tap list
Delta Beer Lab (Madison, WI) serves as a community destination and brewery. Beer has brought people together for hundreds of years, and our Social Laboratory / Taproom is welcoming to all. We strive to expand community through quality, local craft beer without barriers to gender, race, or sexual orientation.
Passport to Delta beer lab
- Wisconsin Drink Passport v1$25.00