Imbibe 75 People to Watch: Tara Hankinson and LeAnn Darland - Imbibe Magazine Subscribe + Save

Imbibe 75 People to Watch: Tara Hankinson and LeAnn Darland

Tara Hankinson wasn’t so confident about the candle-making class. Would customers want to spend two hours in the taproom at Talea, the Brooklyn brewery she founded with LeAnn Darland, futzing with wax and fragrances while sipping beers? “We sold out,” Hankinson says.

At Talea, Hankinson and Darland are rethinking the brewery taproom and making craft beer more inclusive and diverse. They separately left corporate life to work at Hopsy, a (now closed) e-commerce beer start-up, and bonded over home brewing and a love of craft beer. The friends launched the female-led Talea—a portmanteau of their first names—in 2019, using a contract-brewing partner to produce fruited sour ales and low-bitterness hazy IPAs that aim for accessibility, not aggression. The welcoming approach follows through at the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, taproom they opened last March.

On Saturday mornings, the sunny corner space awash with windows and plants hosts yoga classes, and attendees can grab citrus-garnished “beermosas” made with Sun Up hazy IPA and sparkling wine. “It introduces beer in a different way,” Darland says. Talea offers its beer, now brewed on premise by Ariel Schwarz and Eric Brown, alongside wine, cocktails, cider, kombucha, coconut water, and coffee. Sales of breakfast tacos start at 9 a.m. daily, when the taproom turns into a bustling community space. “That’s a different part of someone’s day that we can be part of,” Hankinson says, adding that people often linger for post-work drinks.

Hankinson and Darland are both parents to young children, and on Tuesdays the taproom welcomes an afternoon meetup for the stroller-pushing set. “We can offer a variety of experiences that match with different needs,” Hankinson says. The duo believes the approach can work elsewhere in New York City. This year, they’ll open a second Brooklyn location in the Cobble Hill neighborhood, the first of four satellite locations they hope to open in the city over the next several years. “We’ve just scratched the surface of customers we’ll resonate with,” Hankinson says.

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