Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sarah Nelson, owner of The Ruby Tap, located in Wauwatosa, WI and Mequon, WI.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a wine bar with 38 wines by the glass in self-serve Enomatic wine machines and on tap. We also have a small food menu with local cheese and meats, snack items like our Truffle Popcorn and rotating flatbreads. Our customers range from wine beginners to connoisseurs who want to relax and learn more about wine while tasting through 3 different pour sizes in the machines or just by enjoying a glass with friends.

Tell us about yourself

I started The Ruby Tap with my sister over 9 years ago in Wauwatosa. We both love learning about wine (and of course drinking wine). When we decided to open our first location, we were looking to create a neighborhood space where we would enjoy hanging out with friends while drinking good wine. I love what I do, I love that wine continues to surprise me and most enjoy making "regulars" each day. The Ruby Tap is my home away from home.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Maybe making it through a pandemic?! The last year and a half has been rough, but it's given my sister and I a chance to get creative, stay engaged with our customers from their homes and work extra hard to keep our small business going.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Your work/life balance. I have 2 little kiddos and when you love what you do, it's hard to want to be in 2 places at once.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

1. Make sure it's a passion. If it's not, you will have a hard time putting in all the hours it might take to get it going and keep it going.

2. Keep an open mind. Always keep learning on how to do things better or to be better whether it's industry knowledge or managing your employees or taking advice.

3. If you have a partner, divide and conquer with your skills and responsibilities. You might not be able to do it all, and that's ok.

Anything else you'd like to share?

It's hard work, but going everyday to a place you built is so rewarding.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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