By Anthony St. Clair
With growler fill stations opening throughout Oregon, more people are looking at how the concept can be expanded. Saddled in a 1918 former loading dock near Eugene’s 5th Street Public Market, Steelhead Brewing Company and Cornucopia Bar & Burgers on 5th, the new Tap & Growler seeks to be more than just another fill-and-go.
“Our point was to be the first place to specialize in pushing both beer and wine equally,” says owner Colby Phillips. “We have something for everybody.” The space focuses on being a destination, and is also family-friendly, with minors allowed until 9 p.m.
Only tap beverages are available: no bottles, no cans. Customers can choose from 70 rotating taps, including 40 local, regional, and international beers, and 20 local wines. Ten other taps currently offer two hard ciders, two kombuchas, one mead (Eugene’s Blue Dog Mead), one craft soda (Coburg’s Agrarian Ales), one sake (Forest Grove’s Sakeone), one sangria, one root beer, and one tap of cold water extract espresso (Eugene’s Caffe Pacori).
Storage conditions, appropriate glassware and ongoing training ensure all personnel serve each type of beverage correctly, says Phillips. “We have a lookup reference menu that we can all use to make sure we’re serving in the right glass,” he adds. “It’s a challenge to find someone equally versed in, say beer and wine. So we all cross-train each other with our respective expertise.”
While seeking to distinguish itself in the local market, the Tap & Growler does join a growing list of taprooms and growler fill stations opening in the Eugene/Springfield area, including Growler Nation, The Growler Guys and Steel Pail.
Future plans include expanding the number of wine taps and the variety of wines available, says Phillips. “We’ll also look to add more cider and kombucha.” He pauses. “And there’s always room for more beer.”
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