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New suds shop rises on Main Street

Susan Dickson
Staff Writer

Over the past few years, beer drinkers in North Carolina have seen their options expand on local taps and grocery store shelves, as breweries from all over the world began distributing their beer in the Tar Heel state.

Until several years ago, the borders were closed to many breweries’ beers because of a law that banned beer with 6 percent alcohol by volume or higher. After groups like Pop the Cap lobbied for beverage options other than Bud, Miller and the like, state lawmakers lifted the ban in 2005.

Since then, different types of beers have trickled into the area, challenging beer aficionados to try every type of brew they can get their hands on.

The Carrboro Beverage Company – also known as Tyler’s Bottle Shop – opened a little more than five weeks ago on Main Street next to its parent company, Tyler’s Taproom, bringing hundreds of different kinds of beers to Carrboro, just in time for beer season.

Tyler Huntington, owner of Carrboro Beverage Company and Tyler’s, said he’s always been interested in beer, having worked in breweries on the West Coast. He started Tyler’s 10 years ago with a focus on beer, but “couldn’t fill 16 handles with craft beers.”

These days, Huntington and his staff have to pick and choose beers to limit the store’s selection to just a few hundred.

Shoppers can buy six-packs, singles, 22-ounce beers, mixed six-packs and growlers. The store even has a few rotating beers on draft that are sold in eight ounce portions.

“We’re not really trying to be a bar or anything,” Huntington said. “I just think it’s a fun shopping experience.… It gives people a chance to try something.”
Right now, the store is stocked with tons of oktoberfests, pumpkin ales and other seasonal brews that arrive as the weather gets colder.

“The next four to six months are really the best time for beer,” Huntington said, adding that the store is putting together some mixed six-packs of seasonal beers so shoppers can compare different brewers’ takes on seasonal brew.

Besides seasonal beers, the Carrboro Beverage Company boasts a selection that includes beers from not only across the U.S. but from Belgium, Germany, England, Scotland, China, France, Canada and more.

Beers offered range from Guinness and Spaten Oktoberfest to North Coast Brother Thelonious and McEwan’s Scotch Ale. The store also sells a selection of North Carolina microbrews, including those from Duck-Rabbit, Big Boss, Carolina Brewing Company, Highland, French Broad and Carolina Brewery.

“I don’t think there’s anywhere in Chapel Hill or Carrboro that has the selection we do,” Huntington said.

In addition to beer, Carrboro Beverage Company carries a small selection of affordably-priced wines, with most bottles under $11, as well as specialty sodas, beer glassware and brewery merchandise.

The store also hosts a free beer tasting every week, when a representative from a brewery brings a variety of selections to share with shoppers.

Huntington said he’s been surprised by how well received the Carrboro Beverage Company has been.

“It’s done better than we thought it would,” he said. “This was really just a project I kind of wanted to do for fun.”

Huntington attributes the success thus far in large part to his knowledgeable staff.
“All the folks working here are really into beer,” he said. “We’ve gotten really, really lucky with the guys that have come in to work.”

In addition, Huntington said the growing interest in different types of beer hasn’t hurt:
“It’s becoming more and more popular here.”

The Carrboro Beverage Company is open Monday through Saturday, from noon to 10 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.

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