“My wife Denise and I have been vacationing in the 30A area for years,” says Mitch Omar. “We finally bought a place here in 2011, and we’re back and forth from our other home in Bartlett, Tennessee all the time.” Omar has owned a custom motorcycle painting business there since 2001, and Denise has been working in the financial services industry for nearly thirty years. “I’m a strong believer in karma, in doors opening at just the right time for a reason. We had been toying with getting into something down here, and we happened across a great 1,000 square foot retail space in the same building where we live. At the time we leased it, we really had no idea of what we would do with it. Then, on one of our frequent visits with our daughter and son-in-law in Atlanta, who are craft beer aficionados, we learned about the growler concept they were enjoying and we were intrigued. Denise and I began to research the Florida market, and the Panhandle in particular, and discovered that growlers were relatively new to the area. We both felt strongly that it would be a great fit with the 30A market, so we started our buildout in November 2014 and opened the following March.” Growlers, explains Mitch, are basically refillable takeout containers for draft beer, and come in various sizes – 32 ounces, 64 ounces, and 128 ounces – and various materials, from plastic and glass to stainless steel and ceramic.
With Growler Garage’s prime location right across from the beach, plastic growlers are the biggest seller and the least expensive to purchase. “Folks can take their growler of beer, and a stack of cups, and enjoy a drink while soaking up the sun or watching a beautiful sunset,” says Mitch. “The stainless and ceramic are great, because they keep beer cold for a much longer time, but they are definitely more of an investment.”
The name ‘Growler Garage’ came pretty naturally, tying in with Mitch’s motorcycle painting business. “The décor of the space is an important aspect of the business. All the custom painted bikes, surfboards, gas tanks, guitars and other items were painted in my shop back in Tennessee,” says Omar. “It’s a great way for me to promote my work, and our customers seem to love to see all the ‘eye candy’ – the custom painted items on the floor and the walls.” Growler Garage boasts 45 taps of craft beer and wine. “I have tried to source from the many great Florida microbreweries for our beer menu,” says Omar. “We don’t brew on site, and we don’t offer food, but we do host private parties and can assist with catering options. We also have an awesome patio, complete with gulf view, where patrons can enjoy their beer and meet other locals and tourists in a great casual setting.” Growler Garage also offers a patio that seats about forty for on-premises consumption, and patrons are free to bring their own sandwiches or pizza, or snack on the “killer pretzels” that Omar provides. On Thursday evenings, there is live music by a local musician. “Life is good,” concludes Mitch Omar. “Hey, I pour good craft beer, in my own place, looking at the Gulf of Mexico – how cool is that?”
4368 West County Highway 30A, Suite 101
Santa Rosa Beach FL