By Morgan Stringer
Craft beer is being brought into the mainstream due to high demand for local beer, according to Kristi Allen, manager of The Growler.
She said the reasons craft beer has become popular include changes in laws regulating beer and more breweries emerging in Mississippi.
“It is prime time for craft beer in Oxford and Mississippi,” said Allen.
The Growler serves 29 craft beers on draft, as well as Abita Root Beer on draft, and provides a venue for people to try craft beers.
“We almost can’t keep Sweetwater Blue,” said Allen.
SweetWater Blue is a blueberry wheat beer, made by the SweetWater Brewery in Atlanta, which began distribution to Mississippi in September, according to beerpulse.com. Beers from the local Oxford Brewing Company and Yalobusha Brewing Company are also in high demand.
“People ask what is most local. People love supporting that,” said Allen.
The Growler sells products from local breweries, uses produce from local farms, and their bread is baked at Honey Bee Bakery, a local Oxford bakery.
“Anything we can do locally, we do,” said Allen.
The business uses social media to let customers know their beer selection. A digital board sends a Tweet whenever one beer is replaced with a different type of beer. The board also features details about each beer, including the type, color, price and where it was brewed.
The beer served at The Growler rotates often, especially seasonally, when demands for certain types of beer change, according to Allen. The Growler served a pumpkin beer for the fall season, but the beer is now sold out. Stouts also become more popular as the weather gets cooler, said Allen.
“The customers are more diverse than I ever imagined,” said Allen. “We don’t get a lot of the co-ed crowd; we get some older students. We have upperclassmen to the older crowd. Our largest audience is between 26 and 40.”
The older crowd has helped alleviate fears about underage drinking, according to Allen.
“There’s not many 18 year olds here,” said Jay Harper, a customer at The Growler.
The restaurant provides Cards Against Humanity decks for customers to play with their friends, said Allen. It is also not unusual to see someone bring in a deck of playing cards and start a game.
“It is a coffee shop atmosphere for beer,” said Dane Noonan, a customer at The Growler.
“It has a good atmosphere, good music, and 30 plus taps,” said Dylan Yates, another customer at The Growler.
The Growler received its name from the 64 ounce containers they sell, called growlers. The growlers come in clear glass, amber glass, and stainless steel. The customer can bring the growler back to have it filled with whatever beer they choose.
After the purchase of the growler, the customer pays for the price of the beer. The customer cannot open and drink from the growler inside the restaurant. Growlers are strictly to go.
The Growler has been open for around two months, and the public has received the new business well, said Allen. Football season brings in business from traveling fans. On a game weekend, The Growler typically makes $2,500.
Bye weeks also provide good business, according to Allen. Oxonians want to get out on bye weeks, so we have a different crowd,” she said.
The Growler is located at 265 N. Lamar on the Square, and owned by Anthony Bond. The Growler in Oxford also owns half of The Growler in Memphis.