INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — When Kevin Drake and Rich Romo opened the Alibi Ale Works Brewery and Taproom in December 2014, they didn't envision that it would evolve into something reminiscent of a bar.
As the years ticked by it became more and more evident that in order to serve the needs of their customers in Incline Village, they needed a new location.
Cue the Hacienda restaurant building.
“We were at a craft brewer's conference when Scott from the Hacienda gave me call about the opportunity,” said Romo. “He wanted to retire and he had heard we were having some issues with the county and the fire marshal and we were looking for a bigger space.”
“The brewery is hidden away,” added Drake. “You're not just going to stumble upon it. This location is not hidden and that's the idea — to get some of the drive-by traffic and new people in who don't know us. It's not going to get better than this in Incline.”
While that may be true, it didn't mean that the new location was perfect. The two of them noted that the project was way over budget and jokingly added that they were looking for more investors. Even still, the result is one that they are proud of.
“There's not a lot of new businesses opening up in Incline,” said Romo. “Most of them in Tahoe are like putting lipstick on a pig, but that's not what we did.”
The biggest challenge posed by the old building was that it had three levels. The new floor plan has leveled them all out into a single level bringing everything together into a more cohesive look and feel.
“In terms of interior and exterior, it's really a new building,” said Drake.
Romo added, “We literally touched every inch, inside and out.”
Those inches consisted of things like new drywall, flooring, paint, sand blasting and new lacquer on the beams — which also uncovered the unexpected knowledge of a fire in the building 30 years ago.
With the past of the old building in their rearview mirror, the two can focus on what lies ahead. Pulling from their recent experience in opening the Truckee Public House, you can expect a very similar flavor in Incline.
“We'll have a broad selection of music, broad selection of beer and a creative, well done food menu with a nice outdoor space,” said Drake.
They also designed the space to be flexible where tables are on casters to be able to move around with ease and customize for events or large groups.
And while the beer garden and outdoor event space for live music won't be ready for about another week, it will add another layer to the location once completed.
In addition to the entertainment, the new location comes with two big items that the taproom location struggled with: parking and families. Because of the nature of the brewery, kids were not permitted.
And on any given day at the taproom, one could find them selves parking more than a block away. Both of these are non-issues with the new Public House.
So what will happen with the original Alibi location?
It will still serve and function as the brewery for the Alibi brand. The plan is to have limited hours on Saturdays (noon to 5 p.m.) for brewery tours and private events.
With this now being a third location for the pair to manage, it's been quite a ride in a short amount of time.
When asked how it all started, Drake joked, “Rich swiped right on me.”
The two of them got to know each other through a brew crew network on the North Shore. Not long after they met, they started making home brews together and after about six months of knowing each other, they wrote the business plan and went after it.
“Opening the taproom was fun,” said Romo. “The community rallied around it, the people dug the space and ambiance and the staff knew their beers. Our regulars have been awesome and super loyal.”
“We thought we could make a decent profit selling beer wholesale, with kegs and cans out to grocery stores and bars, but we really don't make any money doing that,” explained Drake. “Pints actually pay the bills.”
While it's not lost on the two of them that there will be some ups and downs as they try and figure out how to operate this style of business in Incline Village, the community seems quite excited that the duo decided to swipe right on them for a second time.
The new Alibi Ale Works Public House in Incline Village is located at 931 Tahoe Blvd. They are open seven days a week, beginning at 11 a.m. For more information, visit them online at http://www.alibialeworks.com or call them at 775-831-8300.
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