Mountain River Tap & Growlers

Published 10:55 am Tuesday, June 23, 2015


By Kirk Gollwitzer
Life in Our Foothills, January 2015

Just off exit 59 on I-26 in Saluda sits the Triangle Stop Food Stores. From the outside, a passerby might consider the fuel stop no different than any other gas station along the interstate. But on the inside, the scene is quite different, because in the back corner of the store is a bar. Not just any bar, but a bar with wine and beer from some of the best breweries and vineyards in the area.

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Beau Waddell, along with his sister Christa Taylor, and their father, own and operate nine convenience stores in and around Henderson County. The tenth store is about to open just next to the Asheville Regional Airport. The new store along with their Mills River and Saluda stores contain the bar setting branded as Mountain River Tap & Growlers.

The Waddell family has been in the oil business for more than four generations, operating under the name Reaben Oil Company. But as the economics of operating traditional gas stations and convenience stores became more complicated the family searched for more creative ways to generate revenue. Waddell transformed their Mills River Triangle Stop store into what is now mostly a bar. The idea took hold and now on any given day, starting at about 5 p.m., every stool in the establishment is occupied. Customers sip craft beers, fine wines and delicious hard-cider while munching on snacks purchased directly off the shelves.

A growler is a ceramic or glass jug used to transport craft beer. The beer-to-go concept is booming especially in areas surrounding Asheville, which has become the beer capital of America. Beer can be purchased by the glass and consumed on the premises, or the store will sell their own signature growlers, which can be filled with any of the offerings on tap. Growlers from other establishments are also welcomed.

The customer can either have the store wash and fill their own growler or it can be traded in for a Mountain River growler. Customers may purchase beer or cider to-go or they can sit at a table and enjoy a fine beverage in the unique bar atmosphere.

Waddell said that many customers are surprised when they first enter the store, but once they see the  quality products being offered they fall in love with the idea.

“We are finding that more women prefer cider and we sell more cider than beer. Also, on any given day, all eight of our taps could be pumping completely different beer offerings then what was offered the day before,” said Waddell.

Waddell has built strong relationships with several small-batch breweries in the region.

“We have eight kegs on tap at all times, seven beers and one cider,” said Waddell. Among the beers be offered are New Belgium – Asheville, Appalachian Brewing Company – Hendersonville, Oskar Blues Brewery – Brevard, Catawba Brewing Co – Morganton, Sierra Nevada – Mills River, Hi-Wire Brewing- Asheville and French Broad Brewery – Asheville.

“We rotate in a new beer once a keg runs out. So at any moment in time all eight beer taps could be different,” said Waddell.

Mountain River Tap & Growlers also offers a full wine selection from Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, which is located in Hendersonville. The same vineyard also provides their brand of cider as well. The convenience of stopping off at the Triangle Stop Food Stores in Saluda is perfect for people who might be passing by on their way to a social event and need to pick a special gift. With many of the beer offerings coming from small-batch wineries and breweries, the chance to purchase a growler or bottle of wine from a company which has limited distribution points makes the Mountain River Tap & Growlers a perfect stopping-off point.

For more information on Mountain River Tap & Growlers visit them on Facebook or call the Saluda store at 828-749-2041.

About Kirk Gollwitzer

Kirk Gollwitzer is a freelance writer frequently writing articles for Google News Service, and other media organizations. After a successful career in software development, Kirk found his true passion telling a story through writing, photography and video. He is constantly projecting people, products and ideas into the national media. Kirk has a passion for music and major interest in people. He is also writing a novel which will be adapted to a screenplay.

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