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Charleston Residents and Industry Veterans Bringing the First The Brass Tap to Charleston

Matthew Luciano and Crystal Coslop are making their dreams come true and finding a better work-life balance with The Brass Tap.

By Victoria CampisiStaff Writer
Updated 1:13PM 05/23/23

Matthew Luciano and Crystal Coslop are packing up their New Jersey home and heading for South Carolina to introduce their favorite franchise, The Brass Tap*, to the people of Charleston. 

The couple have been around the bar industry throughout their lives and have dreamed of business ownership for as long as they can remember. In Vineland, New Jersey, Luciano came across The Brass Tap, and it soon became a neighborhood favorite. When the pair began exploring business opportunities of their own, they were pleased to find out The Brass Tap was a franchise they could open themselves. After falling in love with the brand, the couple is excited to personalize their location to the Charleston community and look forward to hosting exciting events in the near future. 

1851 Franchise: Frame your personal story for us. What did you do before franchising, and how did you decide franchising made sense for you?

Crystal: I started and run a company where I work with adults with developmental disabilities and mental health diagnoses. I have been doing it for seven years and have about 80 patients right now. I love the field, but as you can imagine, it is a pretty high burnout industry. Before that, I worked as an emergency communications operator. I grew up in the bar scene, so I have front end and back end experience. There’s still stress in the bar environment, but it's a different kind of stress. You get to see people happy. 

Matthew: This has been something I've been dreaming of ever since I was little. I’ve been a bartender for 20 years in various roles, but right now I own a landscaping company that I've been doing off and on for the last 15 years. During that time, I took a little hiatus and went back to school to get my master's degree in criminal justice. However, the whole reason I even went into landscaping was for a stepping stone to bar ownership. When I imagined having my own bar, I never thought of owning a franchise. Having my own bar and space was important. We worked with a different franchise briefly at the end of last year, but that did not work out. It just wasn't a good fit. But the upside was that it led us to The Brass Tap. 

My bartending experience is pretty wide-ranging, from your basic sports bar and Irish pub to a nonprofit organization that worked with the Dave Matthews Band. I bartended for them for eight years, doing private events and things like that. Now I just bartend at the local Italian American civic club. 

1851: What was your perception of franchising prior to becoming a franchisee, and what do you want people to know about franchising now that you are in it?

Matthew: Prior to when we started working with our first franchise, I was leery of franchising. I thought I would end up basically being a bar manager, and I wanted ownership. I don't want to relinquish that to go and work for somebody else. That's what initially steered me away from it, but when I started doing my research, I learned that's not really the case. You own that business, but you have the support of the franchisor. 

Crystal: I agree. I came from a setting where it was not a franchise, and it was chaos. You don't realize how chaotic it is until you compare them side by side. You listen to the support team and learn that everyone here has a specialty, and if you ever have a problem with marketing, IT or anything else. there’s someone to go to. You can bounce ideas off of each other or call if you have issues. So, franchising I think is the better way to go.

1851: What made you pick this brand? What excites you most about this company?

Matthew: It has the atmosphere that I've been looking for. If I had to close my eyes and design a bar in my head, which I've done a million times, this is kind of it. You can change things up with The Brass Tap, and they don't want them all to look exactly the same. They're not Applebee's. They want you to be able to put your own stamp on it. 

Crystal: I think the biggest thing for me was that we had no idea that it was a franchise until we went on the website. With other franchises, there’s less creative control and we wanted to make sure we could do certain things. 

1851: What do you hope to achieve with your business? What are your plans for growth? 

Matthew: I hope to achieve a good work-life balance and finally be doing something that I've loved to do. My ultimate goal would be to eventually pass my landscaping business on to my son. He's going to take over ownership of that, and then we’re going to open up multiple The Brass Taps. Our ultimate goal is to have multiple locations. 

Crystal: I'm pretty much the same. My job is 24/7. You will get called at two in the morning for things, and I'm sure that there will be times at The Brass Tap where we have unforeseen things happen and we get called in the middle of the night for something with the bar. But it really will give us a little room to breathe. We want to be happy in what we do, even if we spend a lot of time there. 

1851: What is the one thing about your story you want us to know?

Crystal: Working with people who have disabilities and seeing their levels of functioning, I know that they still want to do the same things that everyone else does. So when I walk into anywhere I look for ADA compliance, because that's just something that stands out to me. I want to make sure that everyone is enjoying themselves and safe. 

Matthew: Working with the Dave Matthews Band stands out. We built that organization from scratch. Dave picked us up, and we did a lot for charity. 

1851: What advice do you have for other people thinking about becoming a franchise owner?

Matthew: Plan ahead, do your research and don’t rush! Make sure it's a good fit. It's a marriage that will last for years. Do what you love. 

Crystal: Don't be afraid to continue asking questions. There are no dumb questions, and transparency is key.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.