After months of planning, Jim and Irene Stout and their neighbors in Great Sky, Larry and Maria Pujol, plan to open their new shop on North Street by the end of July to sell beer by the growler, a refillable bottle typically used by craft beer lovers.
The store is planned to feature beers from around the north Georgia area and will be called “Stout’s Growlers” — appropriately named after the Stouts, whose last name is also a type of beer.
The budding downtown Canton business owners — good friends who live four houses away from each other — had the idea for the store during a conversation at the Painted Pig Tavern. But they could only recently kick up their planning after the City Council approved growler sales in March.
Now, they’re anxious to play their part in revitalizing Canton’s core, which Larry Pujol said “has a potential to become trendy and a destination.”
“We were always very inclined to downtown Canton,” said Pujol, who moved from Florida with his wife. “It was always our objective to become Cantonians and do our contribution to the rebirth of downtown.”
Irene Stout feels the same way.
“I just think growlers are a destination; if you love craft beer, you’ll go find them, and downtown Canton, I think, is a very quaint place to go and enjoy the restaurants we have down there and the shopping,” she said. “We think it’s just a great location to start a business and (a way) to draw people into our historic downtown area for them to see what we’ve got going on.”
The couples are also hoping to help prop up their fellow small business owners. That’s part of why they say they plan to focus on regional breweries.
“It is part of our mission to promote local business,” Larry Pujol said. “We want to give preference to regional breweries. We have done lots of research on that. Among them are breweries in Blue Ridge, which are very close by, Reformation (Brewery) in Woodstock, Atlanta, such as BlueTarp, Red Brick, Three Taverns.”
The owners said they still aren’t sure exactly what brews will be on tap in the shop, as it depends on availability through distributors, but they’re working on that.
Councilman Jack Goodwin, who represents downtown, doesn’t know much about growler shops, but said he’s hoping the best for Stout’s Growlers because it represents investment in revitalization efforts of the city’s center.
“I hope for them that it will go well,” he said. “I know that some of them working with downtown development think that will be a good thing. Obviously, I hope anybody who invests in downtown will do well. We’d like to fill downtown up again, give people lots of choices, have them try different things. Maybe that’ll be step in the whole process.”