Craft Beer Exchange

CoWorker: Did you see that they’re doing growler fills at Sunoco now?
Me: Really? What kind of beer?
CoWorker: I don’t know, I didn’t have time to go in, I just saw the sign advertising craft beer as I was pumping gas the other day.  Do you think they really have craft beer on tap in a gas station?
Me: Do you think?

The above exchange happened about two months ago between myself and a coworker, who happens to be a fellow beer enthusiast.  A couple weeks later, I saw the same sign, outside of a Sunoco gas station on the other side of town.  I was curious but didn’t make it in to see what the deal was… until tonight.

The Craft Beer Exchange brings a rotating assortment of craft beers, available “to go” in 64 ounce growlers, to Sunoco APlus convenience stores.  The project, that also provides a selection of 6 packs and 22 ounce bottles, originated in the Buffalo area, expanded to Rochester in November, and is currently opening new locations in Syracuse.  In addition to the Syracuse market, Sunoco announced that the Craft Beer Exchange will be featured at more than 30 stores across New York State. The new locations are in Albany, Alleghany, Essex, Monroe, Livingston, Lewis, Onondaga, Oneida and St. Lawrence counties.

Their website offers a list of participating stores along with a tap list for many of the locations listed.  Tonight the East Henrietta Rd location had 9 beers on tap:

  1. Stone Arrogant Bastard
  2. Custom Brewcrafters Caged Alpha Monkey
  3. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
  4. Ellicottville Blueberry
  5. Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald
  6. Sam Adams Winter Lager
  7. Brooklyn Lager
  8. Pyramid Snow Cap
  9. Magic Hat #9

Individual growler fills were available for 10.99 each.  They were running a couple specials, the Edmund Fitzgerald and Ellicottville Blueberry were $1 off, $9.99/growler, and a growler of Magic Hat #9 came with a free pint glass.

I opted for the Growler Gift Pack which included a growler (including the first fill), two pint glasses, and 10 coasters for $19.99.  The store even provides printed descriptions of each beer on tap to take home with your growler.  I have to admit… I was not expecting to be very impressed with growler fills from a big name convenience store, but the Craft Beer Exchange is a great program.  It’s simple, well thought out and nicely executed… yet another reason to be proud of our local beer scene.