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Local Potion 

Side Dishes: Plainfield store brews up business

Published November 19, 2008 at 6:53 a.m.

Got a hankering for hops or a yen for yeast? If you live near Plainfield, there’s a new place to cure what ales you. Local Potion, a homebrew-supply store on Route 2, opened on November 1.

According to 23-year-old owner Ryan Christiansen, a Plainfield native, the store grew from a need to supply his own brewing hobby: Like other members of his “tight-knit” community, he’d been getting the goods online or driving all the way to Winooski to visit Vermont Homebrew Supply.

There’s no brewing club in Plainfield yet — Christiansen hopes to organize one — but he avers that he knows “10 or 15 people who brew” in the tiny town alone. “I was talking to other home brewers around here who were tired of spending money on gasoline when they could be spending money on brew supplies,” he says.

Those folks are among his customers, but he’s getting business from hop heads in St. Johnsbury and Montpelier, too. “It’s been busy,” he remarks.

Aren’t these times tough on hobbies? Not on brewing, Christiansen opines. As the price of alcoholic beverages climbs at the grocery store and the bar, folks who want to save bucks without abandoning their brewskis are choosing the DIY approach.

He hasn’t given up his full-time job — working at his parents’ hardware store. But Christiansen is hoping the buzz brings him enough biz to make the store his financial mainstay. To increase sales, he’s dealing in winemaking supplies, too, and after fielding several requests for cheese-making paraphernalia, he’s considering the addition of bacterial cultures, and more. Eventually, Christiansen hopes to carry a variety of locally grown hops and add brewing classes to his offerings.

For now, Local Potion is open evenings Tuesday through Friday and during the day on Saturday.

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About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Former contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the first Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose, butcher a pig, make ramen from scratch, and cook a scallop perfectly.


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