Tapping the Craft Brew Craze

This is a study in place-making, sorry if you were hoping for a beer blog. 

This is a study in place-making, sorry if you were hoping for a beer blog. 

What is the allure of craft breweries and how can we apply it to corporate work environments? 

At PDR, we explore this idea of place-making with our clients as they look to create greater employee engagement and attract local talent. Similarly, local breweries do many things well, other than produce beer, to engage and create a sense of place. A few key components we contribute to their successful place-making is their Authenticity, Craft and Brand. Interestingly enough, these same attributes are the ones we replicate in the workplace, in order to attract, retain and inspire.


The architecture of the brewery typically captures the authenticity of place, through the use of local materials and vernacular construction, creating a strong connection to the region and culture of the city. In the workplace, this connection to the local aesthetic can be applied to provide a sense of comfort and familiarity. It can also foster pride in the local culture and connection to place.   The use of authentic materials becomes another bridge between the corporation and the community.


The attribute of craft appeals to our sense of artisan and local production. Breweries make this connection by visually sharing their production and creating engagement with the end-user in its process and product. Large corporations can create similar environments connecting their employees to their processes and products by providing work environments that inspire creativity and craft. We look to create work environments rich in visual displays where employees engage with the corporate mission and have the opportunity to collaborate and share ideas with fellow employees.


The integration of brand into the work environment is nothing new. Craft breweries do a great job of using brand to connect and engage with the local culture. Names such as Buffalo Bayou Brewery and Hopadillo are playful examples of regional branding. Often large corporations have strong global brands with well-developed values and culture. While it is important for a company to promote its corporate identity, it is equally beneficial to embrace the local culture for place-making. We look to the region to find inspirational graphics and naming to help bring the global and local together.

So, the next time your client is looking to improve employee engagement, try tapping into the breweries for their authenticity of the region, inspiration in the craft and the connection of brand.


Peter Fisher, Principal



Peter Fisher, a veteran Project Manager and Architect, focuses his practice on the preparation of construction documents for workplaces ranging from large-scale corporate headquarters to specialized spaces such as visualization rooms and dining facilities.