One brewery had a major advantage when it came to staying open during quarantine. That’s because Caboose Brewing Company & Tavern is co-owned by Jennifer McLaughlin, whose husband, Tim McLaughlin, is CEO of GoTab, an app that allows for contact-free and remote ordering. Caboose, not surprisingly, was GoTab’s first customer in 2018.
The app typically allows visitors to Caboose’s Tavern in Vienna and Caboose Commons in Fairfax to order more beer or food wherever they are in the restaurants without finding a server. But the technology took on a new role as the businesses had to cease their regular service in March.
The Tavern became a grocery hub, allowing customers to pick up or receive delivery of everything from cheese and eggs to coffee beans, cocktail ingredients and, of course, house-brewed beer. Meanwhile, Caboose Commons continued to serve food and coffee to its devotees through its garage door window.
With phase one of reopening, diners and drinkers were invited back onto the Tavern’s patio, but Caboose has continued to use GoTab for delivery and takeout. “This is kind of our new normal,” says Courtney Beazell, Caboose’s events and marketing manager.
And Caboose isn’t the only local beer hall that GoTab helped to stay afloat and prepare for that new normal of menu-free ordering. Dacha Beer Garden and Franklin Hall, both in DC, were also able to keep up with customers looking for brews by using the local tech product. But bigger names are interested too. McLaughlin says that chains including IHOP and Applebee’s have expressed interest in using his system of contact-free ordering. But it all started with delivering suds at his family’s NoVA brewery. // Caboose Brewing Company & Tavern: 520 Mill St. NE, Vienna and 2918 Eskridge Road, Fairfax