CATAWBA ISLAND, Ohio — Opened just under 5 years ago, Twin Oast Brewing was the vision of Cory Smith, who incorporated his family's Catawba Island farm with his hobby of brewing.
But as the winter of 2020 approached, Smith was looking for a way to keep patrons coming in, while also following COVID-19 protocols.
Like many breweries and restaurants, they turned to patio igloos. At first, Twin Oast did not offer igloo bookings online. But the massive amount of phone calls caused their phones to die three days into it, Smith said.
"We ended up having to go to an online system because the demand for them was so big," he said.
The igloos were such a success, they are now considered a standard offering for patrons during winter months.
This year, they have eight igloos with seating, space heaters and lighting available for two-hour reservations for up to eight people.
"You get to enjoy sitting outside while still in the comfort of your nice personal space, and it's all heated," Twin Oast's marketing manager, Lilliana Cruz, said. "It's really pretty under the snow too, so just another intimate experience."
Smith said while the summertime at Twin Oast is enjoyable with games and nice weather, "the wintertime is a unique and intimate experience for us."
When you reserve one igloo, you get the option of choosing four different Twin Oast beers to have available in beer towers inside the igloo.
Since the igloos are in high demand at Twin Oast, they decided to enclose their pergola -- an overhanging wooden structure commonly featured on patios -- for large party rentals and will open a larger igloo for general patrons as well.
Smith said Twin Oast has also solved a problem with servers letting some of the heat out of the igloos when checking in with guests.
"Instead of having the server come open the door and let all of the cold air in every five minutes to check on you, we allow people to click a button and the lights turn from white to multicolor, and that means 'Hey, we need service,'" he said.
You can reserve patio igloos at Twin Oasts Brewing online now through mid-March.