|Inside 7 Monks (photo credit: Jon-Paul Allgaier)
One year after opening their doors, the owners of downtown Traverse City taproom 7 Monks have their eyes on a big party for a good cause, continued growth, and tweaks to their bar concept.
On Saturday, October 6, 7 Monks will host its inaugural Oktoberfest party, a Traverse City take on the traditional German festival held in Munich every fall. The event, which will be held in a themed tent in the parking lot behind the bar, will feature German sausages and food, traditional music and -- of course -- a variety of German-style brews.
“German beers are great for anyone new to the craft brew world,” says 7 Monks owner Matt Cozzens. “Connoisseurs love them too. They’re smooth, very drinkable beers.”
Cozzens worked with local police and fire departments as well as the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) to secure permits to hold the festival – the first time 7 Monks has hosted an event outside its taproom.
“We hope to get some folks showing up in lederhosen,” laughs general manager Jason Kasdorf.
While the timing of the event lines up with the traditional season of brew celebration, it’s also concurrent with another cause dear to Cozzens’ heart – Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Oktoberfest will not have a cover charge, but donations will be accepted throughout the event to help benefit local residents battling breast cancer.
“It’s crucial for us to give back as a business,” says Cozzens. “Breast cancer awareness is an important cause, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect to highlight it through this event.”
In March, a number of employees and patrons shaved their heads to raise funds for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Last Month, 7 Monks hosted Scott Edson of Edson Farms as part of his Detroit-to-Traverse City bike ride to raise money for Alzheimer’s research.
Cozzens hopes to host similar events going forward. Now that the bar has hit its one-year mark, he and the rest of his management team are taking stock of their successes – and lessons learned – to help outline a game plan for upcoming years.
“We’d like to host more beer dinners and tap takeovers,” says Cozzens. “We’re also considering the possibility of brewing our own 7 Monks beer in-house down the road.”
That move would require some business restructuring and likely be limited to just a handful of flavors, but would allow the taproom to sell growlers – something customers trying 7 Monks’ wide array of brews frequently request. (Something else requested frequently? Short's Soft Parade, which is 7 Monks' best seller).
Reaching out beyond the strictly craft beer demographic, Cozzens also recently introduced a weekend Bloody Mary bar from 12-2 p.m. and expanded the bar’s food menu.
In its first year, 7 Monks has grown from 15 to 25 staff members, many of whom are Certified Beer Servers through the difficult Cicerone Certification Program, while more than 100 patrons have joined the Friars Union, a $100 annual membership program.
Cozzens credits the bar’s success with the support for locally crafted products in Traverse City – “craft brews just make sense in a foodie town like ours” – and hopes to continue supporting great causes while wooing more people over to great beers.
“We’re huge supporters of the Michigan brew culture,” says Cozzens. “We have a beer for everyone. That’s our job.”