Growler Guys shuts doors at Richland taphouse

The Tri-Cities lost one of its growler-fill taphouses in October when the Growler Guys shut down.

The Richland shop at 110 Gage Blvd., Suite 204, couldn’t recover from the pandemic shutdown, said franchise owner Robin Walker.

In mid-October, Walker posted on the store’s Facebook site that she and her wife were looking to sell the business, which was ready to open for a new owner.

But by late October, the plan changed.

“We are unfortunately probably at a stage of ‘too little, too late’ when it comes to selling the business,” said Walker in an email to the Journal. “We are in the process of liquidating any equipment we can, and are intending to have everything cleared out of the space within the next few days.”

It’s a tough ending for Walker and her staff.

“We fell behind when Covid closed us (in 2020),” she said.

The Richland Growler Guys opened in 2013 with more than 30 beers and ciders.

Walker had worked as an employee for a year at the store when she bought it from the previous owners in December 2019.

That’s just before Covid shut everything down.

“We were completely closed for the first six weeks (of the pandemic),” Walker said. “Then we were open for sales to-go. But our whole gig was to give people samples to see if they’d then purchase that beer.”

Walker said the landlord of the building gave her a break on the rent “for quite a while.”

“But we were on the edge for a while and were not able to get through it,” she said. “We’ve spent over two years just scraping by. Our lease is up. Financially, it’s been hard for us.”

The store had three employees, including Walker.

“Our best advertising plan was to go through Visit Tri-Cities,” Walker said. “But nobody was visiting the Tri-Cities during Covid. It just made things more difficult. There was just no wiggle room.”

Growler Guys’ business model offers several beers and ciders on tap to taste and then to purchase and take home in 32- or 64-ounce growlers. The majority of its taps feature beers and ciders made locally and throughout the Pacific Northwest.

The company launched in 2012, with the first tap room in Bend, Oregon. It also has locations in Idaho, Nevada and Wisconsin.

Walker’s store on Gage was the only Growler Guys location in Eastern Washington. The Seattle taproom is the only other in the state.

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