Without burying the lede too much, you may have noticed that we stopped posting any kind of Expansion Updates on the blog; and those of you who have asked about the expansion in person were told something along the lines of “there are lawyers involved now, so it’s not going great.” That’s all still true…but it’s continued from there.
Just to reiterate The (briefest possible) Story Of The Expansion: since August 2021, in one form or another, we have been working with our landlords to expand our footprint within the building to one that includes the unit next to ours along with part of the lobby and some to-be-built bathrooms. Progress crawled in 2022; by, say, February 2023 the status of the buildout lingered at “some studs and a hole in the ground.” Walls were then knocked down and put back up, some work was done, until it wasn’t again. As of now this expansion that we have been talking about for two years still isn’t complete. On top of all that, for reasons we’re still not entirely clear on, our landlords have informed us that they no longer wished to keep us as tenants and may have started taking actions to remove us from the building.
There’s obviously a lot more to it than that, but that’s what we’re currently dealing with. I really wish there was some sort of conclusion or definitive statement to be made, but this is still ongoing. In the hopes of clearing up any (some) questions that might have been raised, we’re gonna continue FAQ style:
Yeah no kidding.
Are you guys ok?
Not even a little bit! We’re only able to be so matter-of-fact about this because we’ve had months to process the information (plus we’ve had a heavy helping hand from the Magic of Editing).
More to the point, this brewery has consumed our entire lives for the past seven-plus years and during that time we’ve poured everything we’ve had (mentally, physically, emotionally, financially) into it and in many ways we really do see it as an extension of ourselves. Or rather, it’s an extension of ourselves at its core but it’s grown to something so much bigger than that; it was completely devastating to have somebody threaten to just take it away, and when they started trying to act on that threat… well, you get the idea.
I don’t understand why this is happening.
We... don’t really either. We’ve speculated amongst ourselves, but we can’t really do that here. We assume there’s a reason, but we’ve come to accept the fact that we’ll never know what it truly is.
What does this mean for the future of Bone Up?
Nothing is set in stone so we can’t give you a straight answer to that question (as much as we wish we could), but things aren’t looking particularly rosy at the moment. There’s been a lot of real-but-hard-to-quantify disruption done to our business over the course of the year - repeatedly changing the access to the bathrooms isn’t great for business (when directions to the bathroom is a multi-step explanation that starts with “go outside,” I would think/expect it’s not uncommon for people to opt to go elsewhere instead), nor is removing a bunch of our seating (by removing the walls that it’s attached to), and the fact that we’ve had an expansion that’s perpetually in-progress with no known end date is at best not a good look for us (it turns out when people keep hearing “I don’t know” when they ask about the progress of the buildout, they eventually lose interest and decide to come back if/when we’ve gotten our shit together). Dealing with all of those issues has been problematic enough for us, and then the city forced us to cancel some (a bunch of) live events which really felt like a “kicking us while we’re down” move, even if they didn’t intend for it to be that (honestly the licensing board has been great to work with, we’re just very frustrated about this one thing). To be frank, we’ve been preparing for the worst, because things have been going steadily downhill for months.
Wait, are you closing? It sounds like you’re closing.
Not yet, anyway, but it’s a lot more likely than it seemed at the beginning of the year. We’re still making and serving beer and doing everything we can to keep this ol’ train rollin’, but - at the risk of repeating myself - things are shitty in several ways at once and we’re struggling.
What can I do to help?
Come out, enjoy the brewery. Have fun. Bring people. Remind us about all the good parts of doing what we do - making and sharing great beer with great people, maybe getting into some low-key shenanigans every once and again. It’s incredibly tacky to say “we’re in trouble, please spend money,” but we are in trouble and we figure this is the kind of thing you get to say once. This isn’t the first time we’ve had genuine, realistic concerns about the future of the business (it’s the... fourth? Depending on how you count? But I digress), but it is the first time we’ve felt able to talk about it as it’s happening. We were trying to bring this around to a hopeful note but we turned it into a downer again (sorry) so we’re just gonna awkwardly segue into mentioning that we’ve got lots of stuff available in bottles at the moment and our bottles tend to keep for quite a while (not that we’re exactly understocked on cans or kegs, but you get the idea). Seriously though, everything about this situation sucks and there’s nothing we’d like more in the short term than to get to hang out with the people who made this place as magical as it’s been (that would be you). We (Liz and Jared, and also our wonderful bar staff) are gonna be behind the bar and/or in the taproom as much as we can be in the near future, so come find us and hang out for a bit. Even if we haven’t really hung out before, come say hi (or ask for us, we’re usually somewhere) and we’ll hang if we can (we’re not shy about answering questions about this whole stupid fiasco, but we’re also not gonna say no to a distraction either). Either way, we’ll keep you posted - ain’t no way to close this pandora’s box now.