Right now, Brian Stone and Liam O'Farrell are busy building a new craft-beer hub for thirsty Vermonters. "We're looking to be the premier place to go for craft beers," Stone says. "It's really that straightforward." The project is called the Growler Garage and it's located near the I-89 interchange on Dorset Street in South Burlington. It's slated to open in mid-August.
Stone says he and O'Farrell are running 20 draft lines for growler fills, but they'll also be selling thousands of rare bottles and cans from the Green Mountains and beyond, along with wines, meads, ciders and other boozy ferments.
Stone was tight-lipped about who he's working with, but says he's pulling together an exciting beer-folio studded with brews that will be exclusively available at Growler Garage. "We're still in the process of negotiating, but we'll have beers that aren't available anywhere else," he says.
Stone says the concept grew out of personal relationships — he owns Garden of Eatin' greenhouse café in Williston, and O'Farrell's HVAC company Mountain Air Systems runs the ventilation and plumbing for many of Vermont's best breweries. Both have close friends in the beer industry.
The two also wanted to bring top microbrews to a wider audience: "With a lot of these beers, the only way to get them is in a restaurant," Stone says. "You go and they pour you a six-ounce glass for $6, and you're paying a dollar an ounce," he says. Growler Garage will offer those same beers in 64-ounce portions for a fraction of the price.
"There are all these amazing micro-breweries popping up around here," Stone notes. "We want to be there for them, to spread the good word and bring them on. We're there to move their product."
The original print version of this article was headlined "Fill 'er Up"