With Archetype Brewing, Brad Casanova (above, left) and Steven Anan bring their unique vision of pub culture to West Asheville.
With the Western North Carolina craft beer explosion has come the inevitable debates over eventual acquisitions and consolidations (see: Wicked Weed, Anheuser-Busch InBev) and market saturation. The latter, in particular, crops up with enough regularity that it seemed to be the logical question to pose to Brad Casanova and Steven Anan, co-founders of one of the most recent arrivals, Archetype Brewing, which opened in June in the Beacham’s Curve section of West Asheville. Unsurprisingly, as new business owners, they are 100% optimistic about the future and feel they’ll be able to hit a neighborhood sweet spot, although they aren’t naïve about fiscal realities, either.
“In reality opening in an established market was more of a help than a hurdle. The brewing community here in Asheville is unique.”
“The market we placed ourselves in, with respect to size and volume, mitigates the risk of a saturated market,” says Brad. “Sure, the bigger breweries that depend on major distribution are all fighting for the same real estate in the supermarket aisle. That saturation is very real and visible. Our model is focused on the local community. We put ourselves right in the middle of East West Asheville, where people like to walk, but up until now didn’t have much to walk to. On top of that, we hope to draw a crowd from the larger area using our brewing reputation.
“Saturation suggests a lack of viability for new businesses, but there are always opportunities one can capitalize on. Saturation is really just homeostasis, where growth equals attrition. In an established craft brewing market, your beers have to be on point. Stand out with quality and ingenuity. Wow the consumer with the experience. You have to create your own opportunities if you want to survive long term.”
Ensuring that their beers are “on point” is clearly at the forefront of the pair’s minds. Explains Steven, “Our beer lineup is a mix of American and Belgian styles. Both Brad and I place a huge emphasis on quality and process control, and it comes out in how and what we brew. We are out to create very clean, true-to-style ales. When a beer style is well executed, there isn’t a need to add fruit or excessive amounts of hops. Archetype beers are going to have less additions overall and more sessionable levels of alcohol.”
In addition to the physical products it produces, Archetype is also banking on its unique layout and ambiance to ensure that, as Brad noted, local residents do indeed having something to walk to. In addition to food and beverage, the taproom features board games and a seating area inspired by British pubs, and it is decidedly family-friendly, too: toys and activities for kids, including a rock pit with construction vehicles, a kids’ table with a custom made “build your own brewhouse” block set, and even afternoon story time that Brad’s wife, Corina, runs twice a month.
“The craft beer experience is as much about people as it is about beer,” continues Brad. “Archetype believes there is a beer for everyone, and beer is meant to bring people together. With that in mind, we had to look outside of our walls to understand the population we’d be serving. West Asheville is home to all sorts, but there is a significant number of families with young children. We wanted to be kid friendly and parent friendly, so we had to create some safe and fun areas for kids. [Corina’s] English upbringing has given her insight into translating the ‘pub culture’ to a brewery. Doing this right also means not interfering with those that don’t have children with them. Scheduling events for families earlier in the day allows for there to be plenty of adult time, with programming like live music, trivia, and games.”
Steven adds that, although Archetype has only been open a short time, they’re already sketching out plans going forward. “There are a few additional projects we are working on, including canning and a small-batch barrel program, which will focus on farmhouse and Brett beers. The barrel program beers will be released in large and small bottle format, as well as on tap. And there are two collaborations in the works. We are also working on plans to build a rooftop deck above the tasting room, which we hope to have completed by fall. This space will be adult only, and will provide views and an escape from the crowd.”
“People frequently questioned us about opening in Asheville,” says Brad, “but in reality opening in an established market was more of a help than a hurdle. The brewing community here in Asheville is unique. The value placed on collaboration over competition has proven itself through the overwhelming offers of support from our fellow breweries. We’re a strong community of breweries, which is why we are the craft beer capital of the world!”
Visit Archetype Brewing online: www.ArchetypeBrewing.com
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