Black wine bar owner focused on sustainability, paving way for underrepresented entrepreneurs

SEATTLE — A Seattle wine bar owner is focused on sustainability and paving the way for underrepresented entrepreneurs.

As he told KIRO 7′s Tracey Leong, he wants to promote an inclusive eco-friendly future that will benefit everyone.

“So we opened in September of 2018 so we’re coming up on our three year,” said owner Ken Dillon.

For Dillon, 39, thinking outside the bottle is what inspired his business model for a unique concept — a wine-on-tap bar.

“Being able to have our wine on tap we are able to reduce our carbon footprint by 90% for glass pours,” Dillon said.

Dillon combined his passion for wine and sustainability to create “Footprint Wine Tap” in Capitol Hill.

The name of the shop highlights how the kegs minimize the carbon footprint — each one holds 27 bottles of wine — a model that preserves the wine and offers an environmentally-friendly wine tasting experience.

" High quality and consistent every single pour, it’s almost like you are opening up a fresh bottle every single pour,” Dillon said.

During the pandemic, Dillon needed to pivot operations to stay afloat. He started offering wine to go in reusable growlers.

And even with the bar reopening to customers, growlers continue to be a popular option. Dillon is thankful for the support but knows many minority-owned small businesses were not so fortunate.

“As a black business owner, I find that systemically there is a lot of challenges that we have to deal with just being Black, and so whether it’s access to resources just the networking or access to higher paying jobs,” Dillon said.

He saw how the pandemic created even more challenges for Black business owners but he wants entrepreneurs to understand it is not impossible to succeed.

“Just seeing someone like me telling my story, sharing my story, I hope will inspire others to get out there and make the plan,” Dillon said.

Also amplifying the value in support for the success of a collective future.

“Supporting the Black owned businesses, if you want us to be here today and tomorrow, keep showing up, showing out,” Dillon said.