A Colorado brewing company is gaining buzz for its uniquely inclusive business model — one that caters to employees and customers with special needs.
In October 2016, Tiffany Fixter, a former special education teacher, traded in her work with arts and crafts for beer on tap to give purpose and pride to adults with developmental disabilities, by founding Brewability Lab with a home brewer in Denver.
“You wouldn't think it would be that big of a deal, but there's just not a lot of employment for people with disabilities. And the employment they do have, there's not necessarily a lot of coaching and a lot of teaching,” Tony Saponaro, a Brewability Lab 'beertender' and tour guide told FOX 31.
To accommodate their employees and any special needs customers, the crafting company includes visual checklists, color-coded and brailed beer taps and menus, and a picture-based point-of-sale system where customers choose a color such as blue for “raspberry sour” or red for “strawberry blond.”
But everyone who walks into Brewability Lab gets much more than good beer or a good tour — the employees might also chat or share their personalities with the customers, many of whom have said they felt at home, and like family.
“I wanted to do something that was cool and purposeful,” Fixter told 60 Second Docs, “and gives them an opportunity to show their ability.”
And it has definitely paid off.
Because of the brewing company’s success, the founders are opening a restaurant in June with a similar concept: Pizzability.