Why this startup thinks office kegs are vital for healthy culture

by Sam Dewey
February 9, 2016

Most doctors will tell you that drinking too regularly is an unhealthy habit. But in terms of office culture, one Chicago startup thinks happy hours are pretty healthy, indeed.


Crafty’s HQ is located in the Central Loop in the heart of downtown Chicago. In the middle of Chicago’s tech hub and surrounded by historical architecture, with a gorgeous view of the Chicago River, we are steps away from some of the city’s best restaurants, shops, and our world-famous riverwalk.
, a newly-minted startup that wants to make office kegerators a standard element of tech offices across the city with an end goal of making happy hours, well, happier.

As it stands, many office managers put little stock into where and when and what type of beer they order, buying what’s on hand rather than what the office might actually enjoy. After Nathan Rosenstock and his two co-founders tried to get more involved with the ordering process at their former companies, they took a step back and put their heads together to come up with something a little more seamless.

“We quickly discovered there’s a market for this — that there may be an opportunity for us to make running happy hours even easier, and for it to be better in terms of beer selection and overall experience,” Rosenstock said.

From actually ordering kegs of beer online to delivery and upkeep, he said Crafty is working to digitize an ordering experience that, until this point, has had its limits. Compared to a traditional retailer — who may have not always had small batch or rare beers on hand — Crafty’s virtual shelves offer more selection than many brick-and-mortars have room for.

Today, Crafty offers access to about 50 brands of craft beer, and users can also select wine or cider options.

Besides access to a curated beer select selection, Rosenstock cited a host of reasons why a company should opt for kegs instead of bottles or cans. Environmentally, he said using kegs keeps about 165 bottles or cans out of circulation. Economically, kegs offer more bang for fewer bucks. And in terms of sheer taste, Rosenstock said beer from kegs is simply superior to its bottled or canned twins.

But most importantly, he said, was the effect kegerators or draft systems have on culture.

“Kegs are a fantastic instrument for not only serving better quality beer, but also for facilitating a more collaborative culture,” he said, adding that kegs act as a watering hole for employees to hang out, collaborate, and destress cross-departmentally.

And having culture on high display, he said, also pays its dividends.

“From a recruitment and retention standpoint, I think there’s a major advantage to having a kegerator,” he said. “Everyone says they have great culture, but the ones that do really well at proving they have good culture are the ones who can evidence it. If you’re taking recruits through the office and can point to your ping pong table or bean bags or open office layout or your kegerator, those are the folks that do best in recruitment.”

Rosenstock said Crafty provides kegerator installation and monthly maintenance for free (so long as you continue to order from them twice monthly).

Although they only officially launched December 1 of 2015, Rosenstock said they can already count about 40 local companies among their clients, mostly in digital tech and creative agencies.

“It’s been a tremendous start. We’ve had a lot of fun. Our customers are happy — we’re happy.”

Photo via Crafty. 

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