These Local Food and Beverage Brands in Reno Know How To Take A Creative Risk
10 years ago, if you told a Renoite their Casino-laden ranching town would soon become a foodie destination, they would hoot and holler right in your face.
But a lot has changed since then, with businesses popping up everywhere and an actual food culture emerging in the heart of Reno.
Getting to this place did not come without risk. In fact, we think the creative risks local entrepreneurs have taken to revive our economy should be awarded a dramatic slow clap.
We’ll wait 👏 👏 👏
When looking at the overwhelming growth of the food and beverage industry, there are some brands that stick out above the rest. Let’s take a look at 10 food and beverage brands around town we think are doing a stand-up job.
1. Perenn Bakery
Move over, cats, croissants are the next big thing on your Instagram feed to lose your mind over — at least if you’re following Perenn Bakery in MidTown. Perenn Bakery is brilliant at two things: baking out-of-this-world baked goods and making us drool over them.
The European-style bakery secured a picture perfect location on St. Lawrence Ave., an area of MidTown quickly becoming known for local indulgences and boutique shopping.
Why We Love Them:
- They leverage social media to display their menu in attractive ways. Perenn’s Instagram feed is croissant porn like this city’s never seen. They’ve convinced the Bareknuckle team that a croissant is the only way to start your day.
- The in-store experience is branded. From the community-style seating to the shelves stocked with loaves of freshly baked bread, Perenn gives you a taste of the traditional European bakery (but for much cheaper than a trip to Paris).
- They understand the power of photography. Hop to their About page and you’ll notice a dozen gorgeous, professional photos and minimal copy. Perenn understands what matters to their target audience: eye-popping pictures of fresh-baked bread. Perenn chose to share their brand story through photography and minimal copy, which captures the less-is-more feel of their brand perfectly.
- They add humor without going overboard. Perenn knows what they can poke fun at: carbs. They embrace their love for flaky, buttery goodness with a light and effortless tone on their social media, website, and on display boards in the bakery.
2. Rue Bourbon
Rue Bourbon is the New Orleans-style Jazz bar we didn’t know we needed. After snatching up a snazzy location on Pueblo St. a quick second after the second Morgan’s Lobster Shack closed (they’re still doing just fine in Truckee, by the way) Rue Bourbon instantly became a regular spot to catch local music while enjoying a signature cocktail and a po’ boy sammie. Their brand is doing so well, they have plans to extend the brand and open an absinthe bar in New Orleans in 2019. Way to go, Rue Bourbon!
Why We Love Them:
- Live music! Rue Bourbon has created a new mini-venue to enjoy live music three nights a week.
- Their social media focuses on the “social” aspect. Rue Bourbon values their team members as well as their customers, and that shows on their social media feeds.
- The details take things up a notch. Introducing a New Orleans-style jazz bar to Reno requires every detail to be on point. In addition to super comfy seating and a relaxed yet subtly exclusive atmosphere, they take the extra step and feature birthdays and events on a large screen near the billiards table. Yeah, we said billiards … this is a classy spot!
- Location, location, and did we mention location? We simply can’t imagine a boring ol’ ground-floor jazz bar.
3. Rum Sugar Lime
The next risk for the win on our list involves tropical cocktails and wash sinks outside of the bathroom (no, we’re still not over it).
Named after “the holy trinity of tropical drinks”, Rum Sugar Lime looked at our high-desert town and said, “More umbrellas!” and we clinked our piña coladas in approval. MidTown was hurting for a classy bar to add variety to our nightlife scene, and while rum may not be our first choice in literally any other situation, we applaud Rum Sugar Lime for changing our minds, island style.
Why We Love Them:
- The interior design is a win. From the signature six-diamond design used throughout the space to the full-length bottom-lit bar, this place almost makes you forget you’re sitting across the street from an adult bookstore.
- They stick to their brand vision. All of their cocktails include rum, sugar, and lime or a derivative of them. Their event promotions are branded with simple graphics to ensure a uniform look across all digital platforms. They also embody the laid-back element of a tropical bar with bartenders wearing Hawaiian shirts and engaging in their own brand of tom-foolery (if you don’t know what we’re talking about, then put RSL on your weekend agenda).
- They know their audience. RSL is laser-focused on being an escape from typical BS … including Hallmark holidays. They know their core audience prefers alternatives to traditional reasons to celebrate. Check out their Instagram to see how they inspire us to party differently.
4. St. James
Everyone in Reno knows the St. James brand. Whether you’re a sucker for the Brasserie Burger or your favorite underground rock band plays at the Saint a couple times a year, the St. James brand has definitely made its mark in Northern Nevada (and San Francisco, if you’re counting).
Why We Love Them:
- Every location boasts something different. The St. James brand has three locations throughout the MidTown area, and they all draw different crowds. St. James does an excellent job of creating mini-brands under their umbrella brand, which allows them to try new things and expand without being limited to a set of brand rules and operations.
- They have great beer. Their award-winning beer is a crown jewel of Reno brew culture, and they keep this aspect of their brand consistent.
5. Rowdy Prebiotic Foods
Walk down the energy bar aisle of a grocery store and you might lose your appetite from sheer overwhelm. The energy bar industry is, without a doubt, a saturated market. But that didn’t stop Rowdy Prebiotics Foods from leaping onto the market anyway.
It turns out the risk was worth it — Rowdy Prebiotic Foods is leading the charge for healthy, prebiotic snacks. Their success is definitely due in part to finding their niche (have you heard of prebiotic bars? Probably not.)
Why We Love Them
- Their brand message and operations are aligned. Many start-up brands invest in branding but struggle to operate by the brand messaging. Rowdy Prebiotic Foods lives and breathes their brand messaging. From the hustle-with-optimism attitude to their dedication to the community of outdoorsy athletes and lifestyle adventurers, Rowdy Prebiotic Foods is a great example of how to actually do what your brand advertises.
- Rowdy prebiotic bars are DELICIOUS. Fiber-based snacks have the unfortunate stereotype of tasting like cardboard. Rowdy prebiotic bars break right through that stereotype. Their salty-sweet, pocket-size bars come in three flavors, with a fourth flavor coming out this spring!
- Rowdy Prebiotics made fiber exciting. Rowdy Prebiotics does a great job of sticking to their niche and leveraging trending topics in health and wellness to educate their target audience and connect their products with the health and wellness movement.
6. Tahoe Blue Vodka
Tahoe Blue Vodka made waves when it launched as “the original blended vodka” made with pure Tahoe water. The award-winning brand has expanded rapidly and continues to make its mark in the high-quality vodka market. The best part? Their vodka is really, really good.
Why We Love Them:
- They’re big on community. You can’t go anywhere in Northern Nevada or Tahoe without seeing or hearing about Tahoe Blue Vodka. The brand does a great job of maintaining a local presence byway of community events and competitions.
- They stand by the “Tahoe” part of Tahoe Blue Vodka. The brand does a good job of focusing on the Tahoe lifestyle in their branding.
- They’re great at positioning their product. While vodkas are traditionally gluten-free, they made sure to include “gluten-free” in their packaging and brand messaging. Way to check all the right boxes based on your target audience, TBV!
7. Wedge on Wheels
Wedge Cheese Shop was first opened up in MidTown, but when owner Laura Conrow closed up shop to take a cheese sabbatical — look it up, it’s a thing — she knew it would be a bit of a challenge getting the Wedge momentum back. Wedge recently rebranded to Wedge on Wheels, an artisan cheese truck you can now hire for private and community events.
Why We Love Them:
- Wedge stayed true to their brand. While the company has been rebranded from a storefront to a food truck, the heart, soul, and menu are still radiating with cheese love for the people.
- They’re community focused. The Wedge on Wheels truck can be found all around town, popping up near local weekend hangouts in MidTown and setting up shop at all the local farmer’s markets and community events too!
- Their product is unbeatable. Wedge carries some foreign and local cheese you simply can’t get anywhere else in town. In addition to their hard-to-find products, they also host tasting classes and partner up with local restaurants and bars to host pairings.
There are so many budding brands in Reno to swoon over, and we sure as heck aren’t stopping at this list! Which brands do you think deserve a round of applause? We want to know!