Meet the owners of TALEA, NYC’s first female-founded brewery and taproom

TALEA Beer Co. founders Tara Hakinson and LeAnn Darland are on a mission to convert IPA-haters into beer drinkers with their easy-to-love beers.

Video Transcript

LEANN DARLAND: Talea Beer is not "chick beer." It is not pink-washed. We don't have the calorie counts on the label. We are creating high quality, easy-to-love beers for anyone, regardless of gender. [MUSIC PLAYING] TARA HANKINSON: Hi. I'm Tara Hankison. LEANN DARLAND: And I'm LeAnn Darland. TARA HANKINSON: And we're the founders of Talea Beer Company. LEANN DARLAND: As craft beer lovers ourselves and home brewers, we felt that there weren't many brands on the shelves that really resonated with consumers like us-- that weren't bearded and really in the craft beer scene. So we wanted to create a product and an experience that would encourage non-beer drinkers, beyond the typical craft beer bros, to try our products by creating easy-to-love beers here in our brewery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. My career started in the Navy where I fell in love with beer when I was stationed in San Diego. That love for beer never really escaped my mind. So I ended up home brewing, joining the beer industry, and meeting Tara here in New York City in 2018. TARA HANKINSON: I grew up loving wine while working in New York City. After getting my MBA, I worked at a winery and wondered why breweries don't have a winery-like experience that's focused on education and hospitality. So I eventually left the corporate world to join LeAnn at a beer e-commerce startup. And that's where we came up with the idea for Talea. There are many women in craft beer who have helped pave the way. But we are in a unique position being the only completely women-owned craft brewery and taproom in New York City. Fewer than 3% of breweries in the US, of which there are 8,000, are run just by women. And for us, the beer community has been very inclusive. But fundraising was a challenge. A lot of investors asked us if we were going to become the "skinny girl" of beer and be the one tap handle across the country owned by women. Or they asked, you know, my wife doesn't drink beer. My daughter doesn't drink beer. Why would anyone drink your beer? And for us, we have a lot of data and a lot of research that show there was a huge opportunity in this market. And once we open our doors, that became our reality, where we have over 70% of our customers are women. [MUSIC PLAYING] LEANN DARLAND: We like to consider Talea beer a gateway beer for many consumers who walk in the doors and say they hate IPAs. Or they think beer is either something very watery, like beer pong beer, or something offensively bitter like a double IPA, West Coast style. TARA HANKINSON: Here at Talea, our philosophy is to make fruit-forward beers that are low in bitterness and easy drinking. And it's not just as simple as making a beer pink so women will drink it. What that actually looks like is beers that are inspired by cocktails, or wine flavor profiles, or just really fun reimagination of our favorite desserts. We have a flight of four different beers. We have a sour flight, a hazy flight, and a sort of house special flight. And that enables you to try four different recipes and get to know the differences between those styles and those flavor profiles. So someone can walk in here having never enjoyed craft beer, really find a beer that's for them, and then take a 4 pack home and share it with their friends. So we aren't just looking for a single transaction across the bar, money in exchange for a beer. We really want to take you on a journey and help you discover the world of craft beer. [MUSIC PLAYING]