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Trio of businessmen open Gainesvilles first growler beer bar
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Brad Sample, Zack Thompson and Ryan Thompson recently opened Tap It, Gainesville Growlers, the first growler beer bar in Gainesville.

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Local craft beer lovers now have a way to take bottles of their favorite brew home.

Tap It, Gainesville Growlers opened Wednesday on Thompson Bridge Road, offering area residents an opportunity to purchase craft beer in 64- or 32-ounce “growlers,” or sealed jars.

The company was started by Zack Thompson, Ryan Thompson and Brad Sample of Pro Touch Landscapes, Inc. and Pro Outdoor Living.

“We fill 64- or 32-ounce containers, seal them and let people take them home to enjoy,” explained Ryan Thompson. “While they’re at our facility, they can try three 1-ounce portions to determine whichever ones they like, and we can help steer them in the right direction.”

Tap It is the first of its kind in Gainesville since the city council amended its alcohol sales ordinance earlier this year to allow the sale of growlers. Zack Thompson said he believes growlers have grown in popularity in part due to their “throwback, old-school appeal.”

“I think it started with the ability to buy craft beer that these smaller guys can’t bottle and can,” he said. “It takes a big operation to bottle and can your beer. But they can brew and put it into keg form, and we can basically bottle for them at a draft-filling station.”

Customers can purchase a growler at Tap It or bring in their own containers that are either 64 or 32 ounces. Zack Thompson said they are recyclable in a sense because customers can purchase one and bring it back instead of throwing out bottles and cans repeatedly.

Craft beers on tap at Tap It include Cherry Street Pumpkin Pie Pale Ale, Grumpy Old Men ASKA Pale Ale, Terrapin Hopsecutioner and Dahlonega Gold Ale, to name only a few.

“We hope to be able to expand into other markets, but in this market we’d like to be able to offer quality craft beer to local folks,” Sample said.

Ryan Thompson said while Tap It hasn’t been open a full week yet, customers have shown interest and support.

“The community is awesome and Gainesville is a great place to open a business,” he said. “Everybody’s been super excited, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we’re the first of this kind here. But people really do enjoy craft beer in Gainesville. It’s the new wine.”

All three businessmen said they hope the enterprise was a product of their own passion for craft beer.

“What person doesn’t like beer?” Ryan Thompson said. “But we’ve always liked craft beers and had a passion for it and a want for it. It’s a new, huge craze running through the United States and in the Southeast it’s just now catching on. We’re just looking for a way to diversify and this was something that fit into our long-term plan.”

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