Olentangy Valley News

Grab and go, sit and sip at Daily Growler

Second version of locally owned growler shop opens on busy Powell stretch

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CHRIS PARKER/THISWEEKNEWS
John Blakely is the owner of the Daily Growler, which has opened its second store at 258 W. Olentangy St. in Powell. Blakely's first store is in Upper Arlington.
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Many Powell residents place heavy traffic among their top complaints about the city.

The Daily Growler owner John W. Blakely sees it as a potential boon for his business.

Blakely said he was looking for a high-traffic area to open a second location for his business when he settled on Powell. The Daily Growler opened in late July at 258 W. Olentangy St.

"We want people on their way home to be able to pick up a growler and get out," he said.

While growlers -- the large, resealable beer bottles now offered everywhere from bars to grocery stores -- are getting more popular, they're still not ubiquitous.

"We still get some people who think growler's just a part of our name, and they (don't) know it's an actual term with history behind it," he said.

While modern growlers are typically 64-ounce glass containers, a growler in the late 1800s and early 1900s was more likely to be made of metal. The container's name may refer to the sound the beer made as it splashed around inside the metal container.

The Daily Growler sells its 32- and 64-ounce bottles for $4. It costs extra to fill the bottle with draft beer, but the bar will give customers a chilled, sanitized growler at no charge every time they return a used growler.

The business also features indoor and outdoor seating for customers who want to drink a pint or two near the bar.

Blakely said he drank mediocre beer in college, but after his tastes improved, it was all about draft beer. He said his first question at a bar or restaurant is always, "What's on tap?"

"It's fresher; it's unpasteurized," he said. "I know what I'm getting. I know it hasn't been sitting on someone's shelf."

The original Daily Growler location launched in December 2012 on Fishinger Road in Upper Arlington. While that store was Blakely's introduction to running a bar, he stressed that he had some prior experience.

"I was new to the selling of the beer business, not the drinking of the beer business," he said.

Blakely, a Dublin native, said he considered locations in his hometown and Grandview Heights before settling on Upper Arlington and then expanding to Powell.

"Based on the way the last year and a half has gone, I think it turned out to be the perfect location," he said

Blakely, who quit a sales and marketing job with the Dallas Cowboys to return to Ohio and open the first Daily Growler, said he's thrilled to be a part of the burgeoning craft-beer scene in central Ohio.

He said 20 to 30 of the bar's 60 taps consistently feature beers from Ohio brewers such as Hoof Hearted Brewing in Marengo and Four String Brewing in the Grandview area.

Blakely said he was surprised, in his first 18 months in business, how many people want to stay and drink near the bar.

"To be honest, we didn't know how popular on-premise drinking was going to be," he said. "We thought of ourselves as a growler place first and a bar second."

He said people stopping in for a pint or a flight of beers with friends has become a huge part of his business.

Blakely, an Ohio State University graduate and Clintonville resident, said he did not consider opening his first store on campus because he thought younger drinkers would not be willing to pay for higher-quality beers. He said he's been surprised to discover how much college students and recent graduates love craft beer -- something he thinks bodes well for the industry going forward.

"I'm just amazed at how many young consumers we have that are just light years ahead of where I was in college," he said.

Blakely said the reaction to the Powell location's opening has been positive so far, and he expects the Daily Growler's customer base to continue growing in the coming months. He said the business brings in food trucks on Fridays, which have been a hit with residents.

While Blakely doesn't rule out future expansion, he said he'll keep plenty busy running the Powell and Upper Arlington locations for now.

"I want to make sure we do this right and grow it organically," he said.

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