City store offers microbrews on tap to go

VERGENNES — Anyone in the greater Vergennes area who wants to know the difference between a growler and a growlette has a new way to find out.
They can ask either Frank Trombley or son Jacob Trombley at Vergennes Redemption on Main Street, not far from Kennedy Brothers. Both will happily answer the question about the difference, which is 32 ounces of specialty draft beer and about $4 to $6.
In October, the older Trombley, the owner of a business that dates back 31 years to when it was founded as Vergennes Variety further west on Main Street, and the younger Trombley, who helps manage the shop, added a “Growler Bar,” the area’s first, to its offerings.
Growlers are refillable 64-ounce containers of draft beer, Frank Trombley explained, while growlettes, their smaller cousin, hold 32 ounces.
Either size bottle can be filled up at Vergennes Redemption with a rotating selection of regional microbrews, which the Trombleys buy in kegs from distributors and stock in their growler bar, which they spent about $3,000 to install.
So far, with just word of mouth and one print ad, Frank Trombley said the new fixture has brought more business to their store, which he moved up Main Street about five years ago.
He described the microbrew market as, “pretty hot right at the moment, and there’s no other place in town that sells growlers,” adding, “I think it has helped.”
Prices range from $9 to $13 for the larger growlers, and roughly $5 to $7 for the smaller growlettes. Those prices do not include a one-time deposit on the bottles, which is refunded on return. Prices vary depending on the product. So far, Trombley said the best sellers have been Lost Nation and Trapp Family Lodge beers and ales.
Not all microbrewers sell their products in keg form, and not all varieties are available all the time, Trombley said. Because he and his son also will try to stock seasonal products, customers can expect an ever-changing variety.
“We run out, and then we put a different kind in. We try to put in the seasonals,” he said.
The growler bar adds to an inventory that includes a full line of wines and bottled beer, snacks, coffee and a deli that the Trombleys have sub-let to a second-party operator. Frank Trombley said that the deli just recently changed hands and that he is excited about its new head chef.
The fact that, as its name implies, Vergennes Redemption redeems beer, soda and liquor bottles continues to lure business, Trombley said.
“I’ve got that, which is a good draw,” he said.
Trombley said many Vergennes Variety customers also moved along Main Street with the store, which employs a half-dozen, not counting the Trombleys or several deli workers.
“It’s gone well. I’ve got a lot of followers from the old store,” he said.
Trombley advises both those followers and new customers who want to learn more about the specialty beers in the growler bar to talk to Jacob — Frank doesn’t always drink beer, but when he does, he drinks Bud Light.
“I let my son do all the talking,” Trombley said. “He’s the microbrew drinker. He likes the IPAs.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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