August 29, 2012

Growler Trends After 663 Hours and a Bitch or Two.

We're 663 hours into the new growler law era (Look for our growler law coverage herehere, here and here) and I come to you with some updates.

James Swann of Whole Foods Chandler reports that Ska's Modus Hoperandi was among the top selling growler pours along with Ballast Point Sculpin. Four Peaks Peach has also been a big winner. James offered that the number of women coming in to by Papago's Orange Blossom was a surprise--not so much the beer or that it was women buying it. It was just a steady stream of women, by themselves, getting the beer and immediately leaving.

Ryan Jones of Taste of Tops was surprised at how many growlers of New Belgium Abbey are being sold. IPAs are generally selling well. Opening day, it was Bells Two Hearted but as their supply kicked it has shifted the other hop-centric offerings.

OHSO is boiling water
Sonoran White Chocolate Ale, Papago Orange Blossom and Oak Creek's King Crimson are the top three at OHSO according to Jon Lane.

Lane has a minor inspection hurdle to clear and he's read to brew most likely next week. This week he posted picture of the 1bbl brewhouse boiling water.

Jess Harter at Mouth By Southwest has put a winning guide to growler locations in the east valley with 16 locations and counting. I unreservedly applaud Harter's efforts. Still, I can't help but think that we truly won't be the beer city that we all long for until we get comprehensive beer coverage across the entire valley.

Our pulp publications have failed us and the largest one seems to be headed for it's own failure.* You should not have to pay money to learn about beer events.

This isn't a call to Harter. It's a call to the the industry to figure out how to build an event driven Arizona Beer Website and provide an unbiased editorial group with a feed of information and some start-up funds. Let writers write. Give them some freedom to editorialize. You're going to have to pay them too.

And No. It isn't this site or any that exists right now.

The well lit interior.
In other news, I recently penned a column on the soft opening of Angels Trumpet Ale House for Downtown Phoenix Journal. My experiences have been overwhelmingly positive and there is no doubting that the linked article is a glowing piece.

Others have experienced the common problems that befall a new business. One experience in particular bears a note. If you agreed to be seated on the un-lighted patio because the place was packed and you could not read the menu, perhaps just order a beer and come back another time. There are places that cater to dining in the pitch black, this is not one of them. If you couldn't see before your food arrived, it's silly of you to bitch about it online.

To those who have yet to visit, my advice is to check it out. If it fails to meet your expectations, talk to the owners and give them till at least their official Grand Opening on September 15 before you go internet tough guy.

*Edit I am aware of and enjoyed reading Shannon Armour's top 10 list of places to fill growlers in the New Times. That type of content has it's place. I'm looking for something similar to the weekly band guide that they publish--A definitive Valley-wide guide.


  1. While I personally cut places some slack while they work out kinks, I think the "soft opening" idea is a joke. If you're open for anyone to walk in, you are open. Period. And you better be ready for the crowd that comes in. That's just the reality of it.

    Maybe you used to be able to just tell friends and family you were open, and have a light attendance for a while, but thanks to the internet those days are long gone. If you don't think you're going to garner good reviews on Yelp on Day One, you might be better off staying closed a bit and working it out. The public isn't that forgiving.

  2. I understand what you're saying Jeff. Yelp is not my domain and I wouldn't even attempt that message there. I'm appealing to the homebrewer ethic where I do have some small say.

    If someone provides you a beer, you provide that feedback directly to that person. You don't post your negative comments on Untappd.

  3. "If it fails to meet your expectations, talk to the owners and give them till at least their official Grand Opening on September 15 before you go internet tough guy."

    Let's see if I have this straight: You'll give "glowing" (your word) praise before the official grand opening, but you'll withhold criticism until then? I know we're not exactly talking about Watergate or the Iran/Contra affair here, but how is that honest or objective?

    Homebrewers and restaurants are two different entities. Sure, tell homebrewers what they can do better so they can become better brewers. But businesses? Tell other people so they don't waste their time or money. If the business owners are unable or unwilling to improve, that's on them.

  4. Point taken.

    I stuck to mostly describing the space, the architecture and not so much a "review". If I were on the patio when it was too dark, I still wouldn't order food.