Independently Speaking: Give It a Growl

This convenience store location is part dog park, part growler station, part genius

By
Samantha Strong Murphey, Freelance writer

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Full Flow Ahead

Bacher plans to shrink the store’s selection of traditional slow-moving c-store items, replacing them with products more targeted to the craft-beer clientele. He recently added draft root beer, sold by the glass and by the growler, and plans to add more bottled craft beers and growler accessories. Bacher plans to continue to expand his beer knowledge, something he believes is key to success with growlers.

“This goes far beyond knowing the difference between Bud and Bud Light,” he says. “Some of our customers come in knowing exactly what they want, while others are looking for help. They want to know some details about what they are purchasing.” It’s especially important considering Bacher sells single-batch productions from local breweries, which even seasoned drinkers are unfamiliar with.

The growler station is already expanding, moving from a single draft box to a glycol chiller system out of a walk-in cooler and from 10 brands to 18, including Slattery’s 50 West brews. Bacher is also working on perfecting the name, logo, website and other marketing materials to leverage his expertise and franchise the growler business in 2014.

“We feel that greater Cincinnati could probably have 10 to 15 locations strategically placed throughout the city and suburbs without impacting business,” Bacher says.

As an independent retailer, Bacher feels limited by his lack of buying power for the gasoline and convenience store, but “we have some opportunities to try things others may not,” he says. His advice is to look for a unique selling proposition. “Location always comes first,” he says, “but you have to find a way to distinguish yourself from the rest.”

Dog washing, German pretzels, growlers of craft beer—Bacher has plenty to distinguish his store. But the thing that distinguishes him the most is his constant evolution. What venture will he take on next?

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