It’s been two years since Vector Brewing opened its doors in the Lake Highlands neighborhood, and they’re gearing up for a big birthday bash this Saturday, April 2. They have a lot to celebrate — the awards they’ve received, the events they’ve hosted, the collaborations with neighboring breweries — but it hasn’t been an easy road.
The family-owned and operated brewpub started by Craig and Veronica Bradley first dealt with the uncertainty of their Small Business Administration loan when the federal government
shut down in 2019. Once they got all of the logistics figured out and were finally ready to open in the spring of 2020, COVID-19 restrictions made it impossible for guests to come into the brewpub. They had to quickly change their entire business strategy and space to accommodate to-go service and packaged beer.
“We all stood in a circle and held hands,” Veronica Bradley said. “I think there were only seven of us — nine if you include our children. And we had no idea what to expect.”
No one could anticipate what happened next. Over 100 orders came flooding in within their first three minutes of being open. They had never used any of their systems and scrambled to shut ordering off. It took them over four hours to catch up. Since then, they’ve been brewing and cooking up great things.
Vector focuses on brewing classic styles of beers with additional offerings of wine, cider, mead, beer cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. The brewery has eight beers on tap, including collaborations with local breweries like Lakewood Brewing Co., Siren Rock Brewing Co., False Idol Brewing and Union Bear Brewing Co.
The Fine Swine comes with a house-made crumbled pork sausage, collard greens, caramelized onions, roasted garlic and smoked bacon atop a sourdough crust made in-house.
In the beginning, Brittany “Rii” Bryant joined Vector as their chef, bringing with her a sourdough starter that has become the foundation of the kitchen. The menu offers appetizers, salads, pasta and stone deck pizzas, which use a sourdough crust with topping combinations that are next level. For instance, the Angry Bee has a house-made Alfredo sauce, fresh spinach, shaved habanero, Vector hot glitter honey drizzle and edible flower.
Bryant has since been promoted to general manager of the pub and kitchen.
Their name, Vector, is even an ode to their determination to make this small business work. As they explain on their website, "Vector is one of those words with several definitions, but for us it came from computer files. As a graphic designer, Craig usually worked with vector art, which was infinitely scalable without distortion. As we got deeper and deeper into plans for our pub, we discovered that we were embracing another definition: directing to a desired point."
Without distortion, despite what the world throws at them.
For the second anniversary party, more than 20 beers brewed by head brewer Tomàs Gutierrez will be poured, including rare barrel-aged beers from Vector’s own cellar. Some of these brews have been aging since before the pub opened, with this anniversary in mind.
Doors for the event open at 11 a.m., but half of the fun will be outside on their vast patio surrounding the brewpub. There will be an artisan market featuring over 20 local vendors with jewelry, clothing, barbecue sauce, sweets and even CBD goods. Guest food vendors will be in the back parking lot, including Resident Taqueria, Double M BBQ and the Twizel Ice Cream truck.
Live music will take place all day on the patio, including Balkan Brass ensemble, Baba Yaga Orkestar, The LAB (Lakewood Area Band) and Lake Highland’s own DJ Binosaur.
Needless to say, many things have changed (and changed again) over the pub’s first two years, but things are starting to feel normal — whatever that is — and that’s cause for celebration.
Vector Brewing, 9850 Walnut Hill Lane. No. 405, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, April 2