Slushies Are So Yesterday – How One Convenience Store Brand uses Growlers to Grow Business

I found this industry-themed article today, published by NACS – The Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing – which highlights how a North Carolina convenience store chain has used craft beer growlers to grow its business.

Triangle Stop is a 10-unit chain in western NC, but four of its locations offer growler taps and on-premise beer and wine permits that allow customers to sample on site.

In May 2014, the Mountain River Tap & Growler bar opened inside the Mills River Triangle Stop, becoming the first convenience store in North Carolina with a growler bar after NC legalized the containers.  Other locations followed – with a Saluda location in October 2014, Brevard in 2015, and the newest location at the Asheville Regional Airport.  The beer business has been good: In the next two years, the company plans to demolish and rebuild at least one other current Triangle Stop location to add a growler bar.

This is no ordinary convenience store – two of the growler bars offer limited seating, providing an experience more like a small neighborhood bar, and plenty of local Asheville brews and ciders on tap. Monthly events are hosted at each of the Triangle Stops with a growler bar, and partner events with local breweries are common.  Customers have three options: 32-oz and 64-oz glass growler fills, and a 32-oz sealable can for single use.

Triangle Stop VP Beau Waddell states, “Overall, customer response to the growlers and bar has been “wonderful. Folks who come in can’t believe we offer such a variety of local beer on tap,” he said. “It’s unexpected but welcomed by the community.”

Full article by NACS Magazine contributor Sarah Hamaker can be found here




Alabama Craft Brewers Push for Growlers, Direct Sales


Let Peyton Manning have all the Budweiser he wants – with that (unpaid?) sales pitch at the end of Super Bowl 50, I have a feeling there’s already a team of Clydesdales and a hefty supply of Buds waiting in his driveway.

Meanwhile brewers in Alabama would likely prefer to celebrate a win in their state legislature by cracking open a 6-pack or a growler full of craft beer with their customers. Brewpubs & breweries currently have to turn away customers who ask for growler fills, and direct them to the nearest retailer who stocks their beer (and hopefully still has some available!) Otherwise, any beer sold at the brewery must be consumed on the premises.

Dan Roberts, executive director of the Alabama Brewers Guild, said Alabama is the only state in the U.S. that doesn’t allow customers to “leave a brewery with beer.” The guild represents 27 brewers across the state.

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Study Commission voted on recommendations for presentation to the state legislature to ease restrictions on brewpubs, wineries, distilleries, and also to allow for greater retail opportunities.  The recommendations passed a few weeks ago include the following:

  • Small brewers and brewpubs would be able to sell less than 60,000 barrels per year for retail, and sell up to 288 ounces per consumer per day, in any packaging including bottles, cans or growlers.
  • Brewpubs would no longer have to be located in a historic building or economically distressed area.
  • Brewers could directly deliver beer to charity functions, up to two kegs per event.
  • Alabama wineries would be able to retail wines at one ABC-board approved location.
  • Alabama distilleries would be able to directly sell consumers up to one 750 milliliter bottle of their spirits per person per year, only for off-premise consumption.

Members of the Commission traveled to North Carolina and Colorado to study and review those states’ laws, where the craft beer industry is thriving.

Text of Alabama Senate Bill 542 is here.