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Pint-sized glasses coming to growler bars
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Tap It manager Patrick McCormac stands behind an 8 ounce, 12 ounce and 16 ounce glasses on Thursday. Tap It already has additional beer sizes ready to go at its Thompson Bridge Road location after the Gainesville City Council bumped up beer samples allowed to 48 ounces, or three pints. - photo by Nick Bowman

Pints are coming to Gainesville growler bars.

The Gainesville City Council approved changes to the city’s alcohol code this month, and Tap It and Downtown Drafts are making changes to their beer menus. The changes allow beer samples to total 48 ounces, more special event permits for growler bars and — though this doesn’t have much to do with Tap It or Downtown Drafts — allow distilleries to open in Gainesville.

On Thompson Bridge Road, Tap It is already pulling pints. At 16 ounces each, customers are allowed three pints or whatever combination of smaller glasses that add up to 48 ounces per person per day.

For customers who know what they want, they now can skip the flights and the tiny glasses and just grab a pint of what’s good. The less decisive are also going to benefit.

“We’re going to be able to have people try more samples while they’re here in the store,” said Tap It manager Patrick McCormac.

Downtown Drafts on Bradford Street is planning to talk to customers about how they want to see glass sizes change, said owner Aimee Hoecker. The business now offers an 8-ounce and a 12-ounce glass. A pint option is probably coming soon, she said.

“We’re going to go beer-by-beer on that,” Hoecker said. “If it’s something that’s 13 percent alcohol, then we probably won’t offer it in a pint.”

Expect to see more activity at the growler bars this fall. The council increased the number of event permits available to the businesses — which allow them to offer unlimited pints — to four each month. Or once a week, in other words.

“We’re excited about being able to do something consistently every week, every Friday,” McCormac said.

Tap It is planning to have food trucks and live music every Friday this fall.

Fans of Wrenched Bicycles got the short end of the stick on code changes, however. In 2017, the bike shop starting taking advantage of a code provision that allowed the business to add a bar and beer menu to its shop so long as its conventional retail made up the majority of the business.

In exchange for staying focused on retail, Wrenched didn’t have a per-day limit or a limit on glass sizes. With the city’s change to the code, Wrenched now has the same per-day limit as the growler bars but can’t sell to-go beers in cans or growlers.

“We’re just draft consumed in the store. It’s a big difference,” said Wrenched owner Todd Berry. “I could see it if we’ve done anything remotely out of whack. We close at six, so you’ll never see that.”

Berry added that the new restriction probably isn’t going to be the end of his store or its bar operation, “it’s the point of it” that has him upset.

While the city voted to increase beer samples allowed by growler bars, it backed off of a planned restriction on wine sales. The city originally planned to trade one for the other — offering more beer sales for less wine — but backtracked after fierce opposition from Downtown Drafts, which has started a series of wine nights, wine-and-food pairings and other events.

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Lauren Williams, general manager at Downtown Drafts in Gainesville, pours a beer for a customer at the growler shop Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele
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