Malt Shoppe plans to focus on beer, fill growlers in Wauwatosa
A store called the Malt Shoppe that's dedicated strictly to beer — bottled beer, beer in growlers, and items such as specialty glassware — is planned for 813 N. Mayfair Road in Wauwatosa.
Owner Patrick Lafferty said his idea for the shop came from the Four Firkins, a beer-focused store he visited in Minneapolis. "There's nothing like that here," Lafferty said.
Besides selling beer in bottles — individually, in packs or by the case — he would sell it in two sizes of take-home growlers, 32 and 64 ounces. The store still is being designed, but Lafferty hopes to have "as many taps as possible," perhaps about 30.
The Malt Shoppe wouldn't sell any other kinds of alcohol, and it wouldn't have seating, although it would have space for customers waiting to have growlers filled and to conduct tastings and classes.
The store is a career change for Lafferty. He worked in advertising for 20 years, losing his job in the economic downturn. He's been freelancing but thought, "I need to do something else," he said.
The Malt Shoppe would open no sooner than mid-August, possibly in mid-September. It goes before the Wauwatosa Plan Commission on May 12 for review, with a decision possible in June.
The growing interest in craft beer is fueling a corresponding boom in bars dedicated to craft beers and in more bars, restaurants and shops with growler filling stations.
Growlers once were the province of brewpubs but have expanded to bars, restaurants and stores in various Milwaukee neighborhoods and suburbs — but not currently the west side or near western suburbs.
In addition to the Malt Shoppe in Wauwatosa, though, growlers will be available in the coming months in other locations: Story Hill BKC, a restaurant by the owners of Maxie's and Blue's Egg that's in the works at 5100 W. Blue Mound Road, is expected to have about 20 beer taps, and the recently announced growler gallery at Ray's Wine & Spirits, 8930 W. North Ave. in Wauwatosa, will sell six frequently rotating rare beers in two sizes of growlers.
Craft & Vessel, which will open this summer at 4417 N. Oakland Ave. in Shorewood, will feature 16 taps for craft beers and sodas, which patrons can drink at the business. Craft & Vessel also will sell those draft beverages for customers to take home in growlers. The World of Beer bar that's due to open at 418 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa, in June also will sell growlers.
Lafferty thinks the location of his store, about a mile or so north of I-94's Highway 100 interchange, will make it appealing to craft-beer lovers in other western suburbs as well as tailgaters from the west on their way to Miller Park.
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