Bar Tending & Beerspectives
by Matt Martinkovic
Brewsearch & Development -
As the world of craft beer grows and awareness continues to spread, new, unlikely
businesses are beginning to tap kegs. Imbibers can now grab glasses or refill growlers at
unsung haunts like gas stations, car washes, and bike shops across the country.

Of course, any business selling beer requires a special license, and management must abide
by strict health department codes. But operators say that procuring the necessary permits is
worth the effort. By serving draft beer, employees connect more with customers which, in turn,
boosts business.  You can get anything on Amazon," says Watts Dixon, owner of Revolution
Cycles, a full-service bike shop who I recently interviewed. "To counteract that, you have to
go after experience-based retail." Which is why, two years ago, Dixon installed 10 beer taps,
seven of which feature local or regional breweries. What's not to like about this guy?

And while Revolution Cycles doesn't fill growlers,I recently read about Lowes Foods, a  
grocery store chain based in North Carolina, does. They started selling both pints and
growlers in January 2015 within a section of the store dubbed the "Beer Den," where
customers can sample beer and then buy a pint to drink while they shop. The staff's goal is to
help customers drink better beer, so if an employee sees a shopper holding Coors Light or
Yuengling, its the employee's responsibility to offer the shopper a taste of something good.

Initially, Lowes started off with nine taps at one shop ibut now the chain operates 30 stores
with six to nine rotating taps in each. Any beer served at Lowes must either be brewed in the
local area or have a BeerAdvocate rating of at least 88.  Impressive, don't you  think?

Serving draft beers has also improved sales for Whole Foods. "We have a pub in every store
that state law allows us to serve on the premises," says Amy Gomez, Whole Foods' regional
specialty coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic region. Stores with draft beers see a higher
percentage of sales, she said. The first in-store pub opened in 2010 at Dallas.

Quick 'N' Shine Carwash in Gilbert, Arizona doubles as a spot to clean one's car, refuel on
gas, or restock on booze. Two years ago, they installed 15 beer taps, but because of
demand, he increased that number to 39 taps a year later. In addition to serving pints of
beer, customers can also refill growlers, and on a Friday it’s not unusual to sell 100 to 150.

But, perhaps the most unlikely locale of them all is Stonington, Connecticut-based
nanobrewery Beer’d Brewing Co. which, in 2012, opened in a defunct velvet mill, sharing
space with a cluster of artist studios and a weekly farmers' market. So, shoppers can browse
art, pick up veg, and score a pint of beer or refill a growler from  Beer’d Brewing’s.

It's availability of quality beer like this which only proves  that we are in the best of times for
those of us who love craft beer.And I predict that it will continue to get better and better!



Please continue to support my friends at
The  Northside Lounge
Nik's Wunderbar - Whitehouse Station NJ
Matt Martinkovic is not only a recognized beer authority but a well known ecological writer whose
work has appeared in the The American Midland Naturalist (University of Notre Dame) among other
industry publications.  He also has been an agricultural consultant on, of course, the growing of hops.
It's Everywhere!
To all my readers and friends, I want to thank you for all your support during my time at Nik's
Wunderbar and at the Northside Lounge.  I'm moving back to the enviromental/ecological field so
the next time you see me at a pub it will likely be on a stool next to you.  I'll continue to write my
column here on BeerNexus giving you my take on what's happening in the beer world with my
insights derived from many years in the industry.  Cheers!