Local brewery makes accessibility a priority as business expands into Ramsay
The Dandy Brewing Company is set to open its second brewery and tasting room along 11 Street Southeast and the facility was designed to be without barriers that could potentially inhibit visitors from coming inside to enjoy a beverage.
The craft brewery has been in business since January of 2014 and, after gaining a dedicated following, the co-founders decided it was time to expand.
For the last year, renovations have been underway at a building in the 2000 block 11 Street S.E., that served as a gas station in the 1950s, and the owners hired Universal Access as a consultant to ensure the new building was completely accessible.
“The thing about accessibility is we don’t want it to look medical,” explained Sean Crump, head chair and CEO of Universal Access. “We want people to feel comfortable and I think having the easy flow on the longer tables will give everybody a comfortable place to sit.”
“We’re not trying to build a space for any specific community,” said Ben Leon, co-founder, co-owner and managing director of The Dandy Brewing Company. “We just want everyone to be able to come here and hangout and have a great time and drink beers.”
Leon says he gladly welcomed the expertise of Universal Access to the renovation project. “We know how to make beer but we don’t know all that stuff.” He says the recommendations of Universal Access were easy to adopt and ranged from setting the bar at an appropriate height to ensuring glassware with handles was available for customers with grip issues.
“This stuff is simple and pretty straightforward and pretty obvious if you think about it,” said Leon. “It’s a no-brainer to do this sort of thing and have a space that everyone can enjoy.”
“When you’re in a space like Dandy’s where it’s speaking to people and their entertainment and how they feel in the space, it’s the little things,” said Crumb. “It’s ‘Do they feel like the person next to them?’, ‘Are they having the same experience?’ ‘Are they enjoying themselves and not feeling any anxiety or apprehension about the space?’.”
Crump expects accessibility will become a focus of more and more businesses as awareness for the issue grows alongside an increase in the elderly demographic.
The new brewery, tasting room and restaurant space is slated to open in June of this year.
With files from CTV’s Kevin Fleming