It's completely heartbreaking to make this announcement. Bone Up means a lot to a lot of people, and there's nobody who understands that better than us because this place means everything to us. We (Liz and Jared) have had Bone Up as the primary focal point of our lives for most of a decade (and I do mean most - we signed our original lease in 2014), and during that time we've taken an industrial space and turned it into a weird little brewery featuring beer that mostly just confused people and from there we (well, you) developed a full-on community that was partly/entirely centered around said brewery which was still making beer that mostly confuses people, and that's really goddamn special. Like, you see the word "community" thrown around a lot by people who work in marketing (or at least we do, it's beyond overused in the craft beer sphere) but y'all are some of the most genuine (and, often but not always, genuinely weird) and welcoming people that we could ever hope to meet. We are so honored to have been given the opportunity to put our passions out into the world and to have them make a positive impact on so many people.
And that's really the point we want to drive home here - we're incredibly lucky to have met so many people who have responded so strongly to what we're doing here at Bone Up, from beer collabs to made-up holidays to coloring contests to weird niche trivia to dog-related events to live shows. It's not that we're doing anything wildly unusual, but we know what we like and not everything we’re into is gonna be for everyone; y'all have given us the opportunity to do the kinds of things that we want to see in the world and that's increasingly rare these days (hell, given the direction Boston seems to be moving in, it's more and more rare to see a place around here with any personality at all). In short: we get to do a bunch of cool shit because y'all are a bunch of cool people, and instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for ourselves we're gonna cram as much cool shit as we can into these last precious weeks. Sure, it'll be a bit bittersweet, but we'd rather go out with a bang (and besides, "making the best of a shitty situation" is kind of our whole deal, so this is fitting, in a way).
Anyway, like we said, we're sure you have questions, so here are some answers:
You're really closing?
Yeah, I'm afraid so. We're gonna party it up through the end of the year, but come 2024 our doors will be closed (at least metaphorically. We'll still need to move all our stuff out).
Are you going to be moving to a new location?
Currently no. We're not ruling that out as a possibility, but finding (and building out) a new location would take time (and money. Mostly money) that we don't really have right now. Plus that's not something we'd want to rush into - trying to blindly shove the contents of this building into a different one would feel slapdash at best - and it's difficult to form a cogent plan for our future while simultaneously dealing with the active unfolding of the worst crisis that we as a business (and as people) have ever faced. So the future of Bone Up - if there can be a future - would look less like "moving to a new location" and more like "starting something new in a different spot" (though, again, this is purely hypothetical at the moment).
So what's going to happen to you guys?
I dunno, we'll probably get jobs?
Yeah. You hiring? We've got some seriously great people on staff who are gonna find themselves funemployed pretty soon, and we'd really like to do what we can to help them land on their feet.
What can I do to help?
Same as always: come enjoy the taproom! We'd rather approach The End of Days hanging out with the people who made Bone Up a great place to be (which means you! Probably) and we've tried to pack the schedule as full as we can with things that you (and/or we) will enjoy. As our friends at Metal Monkey Brewing (which is sadly now defunct) put it, we'd rather laugh with you than cry with you. Plus we've actually still got a handful of beers coming out in the nearish future, including a couple Old Favorites on draft and also So Many barrel blends (followed by So Many wild blends. Please for the love of hops grab some bottles), so our beer menu should remain reasonably well stocked for a little while yet (though it is worth mentioning that we'll start running out of things - case in point, we're down to our last few cases of Extra Naked and Shut Up Kelly cans).
I don't live anywhere near your taproom but I still want to help, is there anything I can do?
Other than staging a letter-writing campaign? We've had a few people ask if we've set up a crowdfunding campaign (and/or insist that we should do so) and we feel weird about just... asking for money? But also we don't want to turn away people who want to help (and it's not like our legal fees are exactly minor), so we'll probably set something up soon.*
Anything else I should know about the rest of the time you'll be open?
Oh man. Lots, actually. Here's some bullet points:
- At some point before the end of the year we'll be hosting an auction for a bunch of stuff from the brewery and/or taproom (art, tchotchkes, hippos, probably some other stuff), so if there's something you wanna grab as a memento, let us know and/or keep an eye out for the auction date.
- We'll also be more quietly selling off a bunch of the Less Sexy stuff from the brewery/taproom, so holler if you think you'll want, like, barstools or bookshelves or tables or the cold room or whatever. (Also a lot of the stuff in the brewery is repurposed homebrew equipment, so if you're a homebrewer looking for some new used toys hit us up)
- If you're in the mug club, don't forget to claim your mug once all is said and done! Liz will be sending out more info on that front.
- I mentioned this above but it bears repeating - we will start to run out of stuff. When we run out of something we'll be out for good (we are still restocking hot dogs though). So if there's something that you'll kick yourself for not picking up one last time, grab it while you can.
- That being said, we're still blending and bottling, so new barrel-aged and funky stuff will be popping up for a little bit. We’ve found that three years (stored cool) tends to be the shelf life sweet spot for our bottles, so that stuff will keep for a while.
Anyway, this mega sucks. But we've been trying to focus more on all the cool stuff that's happened because of Bone Up - the beers for dogs and the beers for weddings (hell, you could make the case that we've been indirectly - very indirectly, in most cases - responsible for several marriages happening. Up to three, depending on how much credit you're willing to give us) and beers for bands and the kickball league and adventures with staff and all the good times we get to have at the anniversary and Horatio Day also all our other weird made-up holidays that y'all just... roll with because you're cool like that and above all that's the thing we keep coming back to - we've made friends with a lot of great people that we otherwise wouldn't have met if not for Bone Up, and we know a lot of you out there will say the same. We've got something magical here and it's gonna be a huge loss when it's gone, but I'll be damned if we're not gonna enjoy the shit out of it while we're still kickin', so come hang!
Some important dates to note:
- 11/10-11 Pulpo Day: Stout Festival
- 11/22 Shitty Wednesday Bottle Release Extravaganza
- 12/2-3 Horatio Day: Barrel Aged and Wild Beer Festival
- 12/8 Bone Up Trivia
- 12/28-31 Last Days on Earth: Music Series and Art Auction (exact lineup and times TBD)
- 12/31 Last day of taproom service
* We don't want people to think we're trying to crowdfund for a new location (if that’s something that does happen, we’ll be very upfront about it) and extensive experience with The Public tells us that even if we do say explicitly that that's not what we're doing, people will come to their own conclusions and we don't want to lead people on, knowingly or otherwise. Hell, we half expect a few people to get all "a month ago you asked us to support you, and now you're closing? What was all that support for, then?" and that reaction isn’t unreasonable, save for the fact that we probably wouldn't have even made it this long if not for the incredible amount of support we've been shown over the course of the last month or so.