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Meet Jacob and Lindsay Sloan of On Rotation in Lakewood (East Dallas)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacob and Lindsay Sloan.

Jacob and Lindsay, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have a background in digital marketing while Lindsay works in finance. We got our first taste of brewing beer thanks to a simple homebrew kit. The magic of creating a beer we could call our own captured us right away, and it wasn’t long before we started exploring how we could bring exotic, unexpected, or higher-quality ingredients into our brews when sharing them with friends and family.

Our hobby got to the point that it was starting to take over our house and dominate our weekend plans, which led us to explore how we could take our passion to a larger audience. Receiving great feedback from the homebrew competitions we entered and our debut at BrewRiot, we shaped On Rotation around our love of brewing often and in small batches and keeping the beers we served fresh and ever-changing.

To meet the needs of the everyday consumer, we also wanted to keep a stock of featured guest beers and ciders available, local and beyond. So we built On Rotation in the brewpub model with 40 taps or craft at our disposal. We curate the tap list each week with our own On Rotation beers and the best craft beers and ciders we can get our hands on from around the world.

More than four years in, we’ve released hundreds of new beers and served thousands of different guest beers and ciders. We’ve had more than 30,000 Untappd users check-in to a beer in our taproom, and we expect that number to climb as we ramp into our five-year anniversary celebration on tap for March of 2020.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Oh, so many struggles. We made it a point to keep our opening rather quiet and not put a firm date on paper when we were under construction and getting permits knowing how many of our fellow brewers in North Texas faced delays. Surprisingly, our biggest delay in opening was when an A/C unit intended for our taproom was lost in transit to us, leaving us without heating or cooling and delaying us by several weeks. It’s always the thing you least suspect.

Since opening, we’ve gone through many of the changes that any small business faces — recruiting a high-performing team, troubleshooting equipment failures, and learning the ropes. Lucky for us, most of the challenges we’ve faced are what I’d call the good kind.

We were overwhelmed by the demand for our beers when we first opened our doors. We expected our first four releases to be in good supply for a month or more, but they were gone by the end of our first week. We knew we had to get busy then. We’re still surprised there’s such a following for some of our more experimental beers like our Jalapeño Saison, which remains a top seller to this day.

Treading water as much as we could in Year 1, we have since ramped up our production and added a brewer to our team who could take over for us in the brewhouse and brew more often. We have found ourselves with a great team who entertains customers in our taproom each and every night.

On Rotation – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
On Rotation is a unique flavor of brewery or brewpub in North Texas. It’s a somewhat rare concept across the U.S., but the roots of it stem from the brewpub culture present in the most craft beer savvy markets. We treat each beer with the utmost care, which is why we brew in such small batches. Brewing on this smaller scale allows us to use higher-quality ingredients and work with processes and flavors that don’t work when brewing at higher volumes. It also allows us to explore styles and flavors that are less mainstream in the market, and we get a chance to create a variety of experimental, one-off variants. We love that On Rotation offers an experienced craft beer fans won’t find anywhere else and a chance to be exposed to flavors that change the way they think about beer.

We’re especially proud of our approach to craft beer education. We make it a point to keep our taproom inviting to craft beer connoisseurs of all experience levels. Whether someone’s just discovered craft beer or whether they’ve got a collection of rare bottles at home, our taproom staff is welcoming, approachable, and more than willing to walk you through our house and guest taps. We print a fresh menu each Thursday that I put together with in-depth descriptions for each beer and tasting notes. Funny enough, we produced a print menu in our first week because we didn’t have the signage for the taproom completed yet, and we thought we’d retire it after our first month. But we found that our customers insisted on having it, so I keep writing it weekly. It’s great to see when people notice the jokes I slip in there.

More on this question available at https://on-rotation.com/about/

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
We define success on a few measures, the most important of which to us is “first sips.” Since the majority of the beer we produce never leaves our taproom and since we have one-to-one interactions with each customer across the bar, we place a great deal of weight on how many smiles, chuckles, or nods we get after the first sips a customer takes of a beer. Whether you’re drinking an On Rotation brew, picking up some crowlers, or sampling one of our guest taps, our goal is to see that each person that walks through our doors finds the right beer at the right time.

In terms of business success, we evaluate ourselves on awareness in the market, how many people frequent our taproom, and the reviews and ratings of our beers and venue from real customers. We can’t be all things to all people, of course, but we try our best to provide the rarest of craft beer experiences in a comfortable setting each and every day. I like to think we’re successful in that. We definitely see a lot of smiles after those first sips.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jacob Sloan / On Rotation

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