A Bentonville couple seeking to ride the microbrew wave has signed on as franchisees with Growler USA, a 2-year-old craft brew franchise that calls itself "America's Microbrew Pub."
Seth and Mary McDaniel hope to open their Growler USA location in Rogers some time after the first of next year. It would be the first Growler USA in Arkansas.
As an IT consultant his entire career, Seth McDaniel spent most of the week on the road. He grew tired of the travel and had always wanted to open a restaurant, but he lacked restaurant experience. "I found Growler USA and decided it would be a great opportunity to kind of dip my toes into learning how to run and operate a restaurant," McDaniel said.
Growler USA currently has locations in Eugene, Oregon; Charlotte, North Carolina; Honolulu; Seattle; and Houston and Austin, Texas. It has about 40 franchises sold in 18 states, including metro areas of Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando and Phoenix.
The company, based in Centennial, Colorado, says it's dedicated "to offering only American-made craft beverages and a menu designed to celebrate the unique flavors of each drink." The pubs offer up to 100 taps of craft beer, hard cider, draught wine, root bear, cold-pressed coffee and kombucha tea.
The craft beer aspect appealed to McDaniel, he said, "the ability to sell and support all the local breweries that are in northwest Arkansas--all of Arkansas, basically." He added that "the vast majority of our 100 beer tap handles will be products from the local breweries."
And "going with a franchise, I kind of get to leverage the processes and procedures that they've put in place, so I'm not trailblazing my own path."
The Rogers Growler USA will offer a full lunch and dinner service, with a menu designed to pair with "a vast array of beer styles."
His pub will be in a retail center at 4204 S. J.B. Hunt Drive in Rogers, part of the retail development in The District at Pinnacle Hills. Whisinvest Realty is the developer and leasing company for the project.
Although his wife, Mary, will be keeping her day job--she's a buyer for WalMart--Seth McDaniel will be devoting his full energies to the microbrew pub. And if things work out, they may open other Growler locations. "I'm taking it one step at a time."
Their investment will total about $500,000, McDaniel said. They've obtained an SBA loan from Legacy National Bank.
Although it's a franchise, McDaniel stresses that "it's locally owned and operated with a focus on the local breweries in the community. And all of the servers and beer tenders will be Cicerone certified." Cicerone certification is a professional certification for beer professionals.
He expects to employ between 15 and 20 workers.