DUTTON — Opening a business in arguably the hardest hit industry of the COVID-19 pandemic era doesn’t seem like a promising concept on paper, but Justin Buiter and his team at Railtown Brewing Co. are leveraging special circumstances to do exactly that.
The Dutton-based brewery and brewpub announced this week that it plans to open the Good Mooed Cafe in space it previously occupied before building at its current location at 3595 68th St.
The cafe’s namesake comes from one of Railtown’s signature brews, the Good Mooed milk stout.
“It’s definitely a calculated risk like a lot of things are right now,” said Buiter, co-founder of Railtown. “It’s a business concept that we had tossed around for several years at this point and going through the last shutdown really allowed us to focus in on that and really do what we wanted to do.”
Buiter isn’t starting from square one, though. Railtown’s lease on its former space, which is located next door in a strip mall, is still active. The brewery renewed it at the beginning of 2020 to utilize the additional parking for its new facility, which lacked sufficient onsite parking.
Railtown currently uses the space for wine and cider production. The facility also houses a walk-in cooler where the brewery stores beer.
“We really needed to diversify our offering in order to better handle this situation in the future and at the same time find a business where we could utilize our staff and the knowledge we gained from being in the food industry for a couple years,” Buiter said. “Obviously we had the overhead and the space over there, so utilizing it and monetizing it just made sense for us.”
Wine and cider production will remain at the location and will eventually move to the new facility, according to Buiter.
Upon opening, the Good Mooed Cafe will focus on quick serve breakfast, coffee and baked goods.
However, Railtown holds one microbrewery license that allows it to produce and serve beer, wine and cider at both locations. Buiter said the business might utilize that option later down the line.
Railtown looks to open the doors of the cafe in the winter, although the exact timeline is at the mercy of potential delays related to COVID.
“A lot of the timeline is going to be determined on how the rest of the pandemic goes,” Buiter said. “I say the rest of the pandemic assuming we’ll get out of it this spring. We’re feeling like the January or February time frame is reasonable with what we have in front of us, but we’re not going to commit to anything specific yet because we know there are still variables.”
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