The first signs of winter in Cincinnati are here (or they will be, after this last warm weekend), but Braxton Brewing’s rooftop igloos are the only ones that come with a drink. The Covington taproom debuted its fleet of transparent igloos this week as businesses grapple with what colder weather will mean for dining out in the COVID-19 era.
“Obviously, it’s been a tough year. We’ve had to get really creative with the restrictions in place, knowing we’re gonna lose the bulk of outdoor dining,” says Braxton CEO Jake Rouse. “We had to think, How do we create an experience that is welcoming and safe to encourage customers to come out during the winter?”
To make use of their sizeable rooftop while temperatures drop, the company installed new private, individually-heated igloos. The tent-like structures can comfortably fit parties of up to eight people, come with a Bluetooth speaker system, and can be reserved online for a $30 fee. Customers can also purchase food and drink packages, with charcuterie boards, appetizers, and other light bites coming from Parlor on Seventh.
“It’s really important for our overall business. We know that the main taproom is going to be hindered at 50 percent capacity and capped to 10 or 11 p.m. We had to do something,” Rouse says. “This gave us a really great opportunity to capture some of that back.”
Guests can reserve an igloo for up to two hours, after which the dome will be completely sanitized for the next party. Rouse expects that the igloos will stay up through at least March and could come back again next year.
Also on the winter docket for Braxton is the return of Dark Charge, the company’s Bourbon Barrel–Aged Imperial Stout that’s usually welcomed with a day-long block party. Although festivities will look a little different this year, Rouse says customers can still expect a “really unique experience” for the beer’s release date.
“We’re taking all of our taprooms and every single one is gonna have a Dark Charge Day experience where customers can come and try all the beers,” he explains.
The stout’s five variants will be announced as Dark Charge Day, held on December 5, gets closer, while the bottled beers will become available to purchase mid-November.
Braxton Brewing Co., 27 W. Seventh St., Covington, (859) 261-5600