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Growlers on Main takes next step toward opening on Gainesville square
Official grand opening scheduled for May 1
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Gainesville City Council has approved a grant application from the Community Development Department seeking funding for construction of at least six single-family homes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Hall County.

City officials report about 65 percent of housing units in Gainesville are renter-occupied versus 35 percent that are owner-occupied, an imbalance the city has made it a priority to address.

Through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the city seeks up to $1 million in available funding that requires no local match.

City Council also has approved grant applications from the Ninth District Opportunity Community Action Agency Inc. and Avita Community Partners Inc. for homeless assistance programs.

Funds for these grants would be provided through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Ninth District Opportunity seeks about $475,000 for its homeless prevention, rapid rehousing and shelter programs. Avita, meanwhile, requests about $37,000 for outreach and support services to the homeless.

Joshua Silavent

Gainesville City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to approve an amendment to the alcoholic beverage ordinance that will allow Growlers on Main, a Flowery Branch establishment that serves draft beer to go, to open a new location in the downtown square.

A second reading of the amendment is scheduled to be held at the council’s next meeting, April 1, and would take effect April 10.

The amendment defines a growler as a “reusable, re-sealable and professionally sanitized glass jug used to transport draft beer off-premises for consumption.” It also limits taste tests to three one-ounce portions.

Resembling something on the order of a boutique package store, Growlers on Main has become an overnight success thanks to the array of craft beers it offers from some of the country’s best microbreweries. After launching in South Hall on Jan. 31, owner Alan Davenport was approached by Gainesville officials about the prospect of opening a new branch in the downtown square.

“My father taught me that hesitation is a deal killer,” Davenport said, adding that he has plans to franchise his business and open other locations, possibly in Canton, Covington and Macon.

Davenport said he signed a lease Tuesday for the new location at 110 N. Bradford St., near Recess Southern Gastro-pub and the YellowFin restaurant. He said he plans to call this location Growlers Off Main.

He said he planned to have a soft opening on April 15, with a grand opening scheduled for May 1. He said he anticipated taking part in downtown festivals and sponsoring charitable events.

Councilman George Wangemann cast the lone vote against the amendment because he said he feared it could be a slippery slope to allowing “open bars” to operate in the city. Gainesville currently requires any business serving alcohol for consumption on premises to make at least 50 percent of its revenue from food sales.

But in a nod of goodwill, Wangemann said he would happily enjoy the tap root beer offered at the new location.

“We’re just excited about it,” Davenport said. “We think it’s going to be a wonderful addition to the square.”

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