UPDATE, 1:45 p.m. Oct. 28: Central Market is waiting for a few parts to arrive to open the Growler Station as promised at 5 p.m., but even if it’s not quite ready, the store plans to have plenty of beers for people to sample nonetheless.
EARLIER: When the Growler Station opens at the Westgate location of Central Market on Friday, beer lovers will be able to get their favorite brews poured straight from the taps.
Central Market has long offered an extensive selection of bottled and canned beers, but now one Austin store is also adding 20 draft beers to the mix so that customers can get their growlers — 32 and 64 oz. reusable containers — filled with beer to go. So far, the Westgate store on South Lamar Boulevard is the only Central Market in Austin to have a draft wall.
The specialty grocery store owned by HEB, Central Market is tapping into a trend in the grocery business by opening the Growler Station.
Increasingly, stores like competitor Whole Foods have found that strong craft beer selections aren’t enough; they can grow their shopper base — and keep them in the store longer — by having draft options in addition to bottles and cans. A Houston location of Whole Foods, in fact, even opened a brewery within the store in 2014.
But Central Market has another reason for getting the Growler Station up and running. Often, a brewery’s limited-edition beers are draft-only, so their fans can’t find them in stores. These sought-after suds extend to brewpubs as well, which in Texas can package a very limited number of beers for distribution on the market.
On Friday, one of those brewpubs, Pinthouse Pizza, is taking over 10 of Central Market’s taps with its hop-forward ales like the Electric Jellyfish IPA and the Fully Adrift Double IPA. From 5 to 7 p.m., pair these with free pizza bites that Central Market’s café is offering in celebration of the Growler Station’s debut.
If you can’t make it to the kick-off party, however, Central Market has a sudsy special going through Tuesday: a sale on growler fills when customers purchase two or more, according to the store. Don’t even have a growler yet to get filled? The store will also have 32 oz. and 64 oz. plastic growlers available for $1.99.
Look for craft brews like Sixpoint Tesla Lager, Jolly Pumpkin Gratzer and Texian FM 359 to hit the taps in coming weeks. Central Market Westgate is located at 4477 S. Lamar Blvd.