Well well well, here we are. In the year 2022, looking back on two years of uncertainty, change, grief, frustration, annoyance, and just general chaos. I like to think that, at least for us here at Urban Artifact, if there is one thing we’ve learned it’s that a figure-it-out attitude and willingness to adapt to overnight changes has allowed us to survive the ongoing pandemic safely and with relative success.
In the previous year(s), we’ve launched an online store, a monthly and quarterly beer delivery club, released our first fruit tart seltzers, created the American Fruit Tart Style and the first of its ilk Teak, updated the taproom, retooled Radio Artifact, added more merchandise, increased our distribution footprint, and have made more beer than the years before. We’ve dealt with an increasing number of issues around the supply chain with shipping rates over 3x pre-pandemic, fruit prices doubling if not tripling due to climate change, and shortages on basically every single manufacturing input from nitrile gloves to paper to aluminum cans. All the while though, we’ve persevered. We’ve increased our internal minimum wage, increased our 401k contributions, and continue to grow and hire new people. We’ve added a marketing department for this first time in 7(!) years, hired a new sales representative in NE Ohio, hired three new brewers, created a wedding and events team, doubled our brewing capacity (again!), have now collectively used over 1,500,000 pounds of fruit, 667,000 last year alone, and saw our first employee, Josh Elliott, start their own winery, FRUITBLOOD! It’s been a whirlwind to say the least.
But you probably know most of this already and might be wondering, well what’s next‽ Here’s the short rundown: Another expansion, more (new) beers, more (existing) beers, a couple secret R&D projects, another super secret retro project, and ultimately an increased focus on what we do best: fruit tarts.
Our 2022 beer release calendar is now live. We’re doing fewer large batch midwest fruit tarts and focusing more on keeping our select favorites available for a longer period of time (with a special to-be-announced new release this fall). We have a couple new rare midwest fruit tarts, featuring Loganberry, Obsidianberry, and Lychee. Teak, which had a surprise drop at the end of 2021, will now be year round. And our seltzers are going year round as well, for those that want something a bit lighter to drink. All in all, for 2022 we’ve honed our release calendar to be the best at what we do.
You might be worried, looking at the beer calendar, that the selection of beers we are offering is decreasing. Worry not! We overhauled our pilot program this year and will be releasing around 4 brand new beers every single month that will be taproom and Small Batch Society exclusives. Here in this new small batch program, our brewers creativity will shine. Epicurean ales, sour IPAs, funky brett. Beers, old long retired favorites (Calliope, anyone!?) and beers that don't fit neatly into a box will all be brewed at one point or another. It's a truly creative and expressive outlet for our brewers and for you, the intrepid Urban Artifact Explorer.
The past two years might have felt simultaneously like 20 years and only 2 months, but we’re here now, looking forward. Who knows what the future outside of Urban Artifact taproom or full cooler holds, all we can say is that we have plenty of fun things in store for you to explore.