Five years ago, sisters Brooke Boomer and Sarah Smith thought it was time for Wisconsinites to enjoy the luxury of self-serving wine dispensers. With a desire to create a space where they could share their love for wine in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, Boomer and Smith opened The Ruby Tap in Wauwatosa.
Boomer, who lives in Tosa and had just had a baby when she and Smith decided to open The Ruby Tap, wanted to keep the business location close to home. The sisters had discovered the Enomatic Self-Serve Wine Machines “ages ago” and researched them for a long time before deciding they wanted to build their business around the unique dispensers.
“The fact that [customers] can self-serve makes it a fun activity,” Boomer said. “We’ve had people come in that are new to wine and [since they] don’t have to commit to a full glass, they just try different things to see what they like.”
The Ruby Tap hasn’t undergone any major changes since it opened five years ago, and its success suggests Boomer and Smith may have a natural knack for running a business.
“I would say the biggest change is probably the addition of the wine club,” Boomer said.
The Ruby Tap’s wine club, which was created two-and-a-half years ago, has grown from 25 members to 140. Members enjoy hand-picked bottles, release parties, special events and discounted bottle purchases.
In addition to its wine club, The Ruby Tap hosts tastings and private parties. The Ruby Tap’s Mequon location (6000 W. Mequon Rd., Mequon) collaborates with Cyclebar Mequon and In Balance Yoga to offer spin classes and yoga sessions followed by food and drink specials.
Boomer and Smith hope to continue to offer new and unique events, like “Bubbles and Brunch,” an event where attendees enjoyed an afternoon of sparkling wine, fried chicken and waffles.
“We’ve had many requests to put together a trip to California, so we may be working on that for spring of next year,” Boomer said.
On Saturday, August 5, Boomer and Smith are throwing The Ruby Tap a birthday party, where they’ll be selling their wine machines for 25 percent off. To celebrate, Jet’s Pizza and Tall Guy and a Grill will be serving up pizza and grilled goodies like chimichurri beef skewers and stuffed shishito peppers. And – of course – there will be no shortage of wine.
“We’ve gone through over 2,500 different wines since we opened,” Brooke said. “We’re hoping to put many of the original wines that we started with in the wine machines.”
The Ruby Tap‘s 5-Year Birthday Party will be held at the store’s Wauwatosa location (1341 N. Wauwatosa Ave.). The party is free to attend, and will go from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m.