Growlers Gaining 'Foamentum'

Everyday Shop launches Growler Station Express in Va.; Ore. station adds program

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- More convenience retailers are trying out "growler" beer programs. Everyday Shop & Cafe (Liberty) is now home to Growler Station Express, offering eight fresh craft beers available for purchase to-go in 64-ounce reusable amber glass growlers and two-liter "Beast" recyclable plastic bottles.

VPS Convenience Store Group, operator of the Everyday Shops, and Growler Station, Shelton, Conn., have an exclusive partnership to bring the craft beer "to-go" concept and the patented counter pressure bottling technology to convenience stores.

The company chose an Everyday Shop & Cafe (Liberty) in Charlottesville as the premiere test site out of the 424 convenience stores in the VPS chain.

"We are very excited to be the exclusive convenience store partner with Growler Station and to be able to offer a selection of craft beer to-go that stays fresher longer and tastes like it is straight from the tap, even weeks later," said Neal Leonhardt, senior vice president of merchandising and marketing. "Craft beer is something our customers are really excited about and now they have the convenience of buying it from the tap, sealing it for optimal freshness and taking it with them to enjoy later."

John O'Connell, vice president of business development at the Growler Station, said, "The Growler Station Express uses a unique counter pressure technology that creates the exact environment from the keg to the growler. It counter pressure fills the growler with CO2 prior to filling with beer, which means that the process is foam-free and that there is significantly less waste than with other growler systems. The Growler Station Express can fill a 64 oz. growler in approximately 90 seconds. The bottle is then sealed air-tight with metal caps to ensure that the beer never oxygenates, thereby staying fresher longer and tasting better."

Customers can find out what beers are available at the store with real-time updates via The Everyday Shop also features an in-store digital menu display and an iPad station with the GS Beer Wizard App, which allows customers to learn more about the store's selections including style, hop bitterness, color and alcohol content.

Click here for additional images from the Everyday Shop & Cafe Facebook page.

The VPS Convenience Store Group, Wilmington, N.C., operates under six store brands including Scotchman, Village Pantry, Li'l Cricket, Young's, Next Door Stores and Everyday Shops. VPS offers premium fuel brands such as Exxon, Mobil, Marathon, Valero, BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips and its own proprietary brand, Carolina Petro.

Separately, a Stop & Go Shell station in Bend, Ore., is now offering 30 different West Coast beers in a 64-ounce growler program, reported KTVZ.

"As soon as we put it in, the reaction on the street was phenomenal," Kizer Couch, one of the owners of the Stop & Go, told the news outlet. Couch said they got the idea from a trade magazine that featured a small 12-tap display at a store on the East Coast.

The Stop & Go featured a small 14-tap selection at first and then decided to double it to the current 30 taps, said the report.

The store will not only fill up the traditional growler, but they sell a smaller version called a "growlette."

"Those are just awesome for all the girls," Kelly Wilson, a store employee, told KTVZ "We've got ciders, light beers, and we have all the dark stuff too. That's also a good thing to taste the beers."

Couch said they have had tremendous support from all the local brewers, and they hope to feature at least one beer from every brewery in Bend.

Sunoco and Parker's, as well as Walgreens and Duane Reade, also offer growler programs (see Related Content below for previous CSP Daily News coverage).