Seventh Son Brewing is getting into the food business, at least in a small, self-serve way.
The Columbus craft brewery has installed charcuterie vending machines at its two satellite taprooms, Getaway at Bridge Park in Dublin and Antiques on High in the Brewery District/German Village area.
“We thought this would be a fun thing to do,” co-owner Collin Castore said.
The idea started with co-owner Jen Burton, who long has joked about wanting to offer some snacks and charcuterie at their ventures. They’d seen vending machines with heartier fare than the normal sodas and chips in places like airports and wondered if they could bring that to their breweries.
It’s not just a quirky addition though. There’s business thinking behind it. Food options, whether provided by the brewery or brought in from outside, keep customers there and happy.
“We want people to know it’s OK to grab something from the machine, maybe order a pizza,” he said. “It’s OK to have food here.”
So how’d they do it?
Castore called Brad Hobbs, co-owner of The Walrus and other Columbus restaurants. That downtown spot has a beer vending machine. Hobbs then connected Castore to his supplier, who thought the vending machine was a good idea.
Together they explored machine options, settling on a model that has space for both cold and dry products, but instead of Gatorades and Cheetos, it’s stocked with locally made cheeses, meats and other snacks.
That selection includes cheese from Black Radish Creamery, salami from North Country Charcuterie and crackers and breadsticks from Weed Knob Acres. Not everything is local; there are canned fish and seafood options including rainbow trout caviar.
It wasn’t just a simple matter of picking products though. Everything had to fit into the machines as well. No one wants their salami to get stuck.
Price also was a puzzle that needed figured out. The machines are only able to take payments of up to $25. Portions needed to be able to fit under that limitation as well.
Options range from $2 for apricot preserves to $24 for North Country salami.
Both machines are up and running now.
by Dan Eaton
Source: Columbus Business First