The University of Memphis may be a dry campus, but the area around it is flooding with places to get a quick drink.
The Casual Pint, a southeastern laid-back craft beer chain with locations in Tennessee, Ohio, South Carolina and Arizona, will soon be opening a store on Highland Row. It is the first of three planned Memphis stores, and Nathan Robinette, president and CEO of the company, believes the city is the best location for the beer shop.
“We’re very excited about Memphis,” he said. “Memphis has a growing craft beer market and we wanted to bring a unique beer experience to the local community.”
Unlike liquor stores of the area, The Casual Pint is not only about buying. It is about coming together over a common love: beer.
“The Casual Pint’s mission is to provide a gathering place for craft beer lovers to honor artisanal beers created by small breweries,” Robinette said. “It’s like a coffee shop but for craft beers.”
The store will feature a 30-tap wall for growler and pint sales and the wall’s ale types will rotate to provide variety.
To add to the relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere its name describes, The Casual Pint will have plenty of areas for guests to sit back and enjoy their drinks.
“There will be an inviting atmosphere and dedicated bar area and seating for on-site tastings,” the CEO said. “There will be a singles cooler with bottled and canned beer to enjoy on-site in a cozy chair, at an indoor table or on the large patio.”
In order to differentiate from other Casual Pint locations, the Highland Row spot will also serve a variety of bite-size foods, including chicken wings, flatbreads and pretzels with beer cheese.
For those who want to visit The Casual Pint but are unable to stick around, the brew seller provides drinks to go.
“There will be packaged craft beer from local, national and international breweries,” Robinette said. “With more than 300 different beers, guests can grab six packs, mix-a-sixes or single beers to enjoy at home.”
Local ownership is also important to Robinette and his business. Every Casual Pint location is franchised to someone from its city, and though he would not identify Memphis’s franchise owner, the president confirmed that it will be locally owned and operated.
Encouraging to Robinette is the enthusiasm from U of M students, as Tigers’ ears perked up Tuesday after hearing the news.
“That sounds pretty cool,” said Garrett Barnes, 20, a U of M junior double major of film and theater. “I think it will help with students hanging out on and around campus. It will help with the commuter life.”
Anthony Monti, 22, a U of M senior physical education major, agreed with Barnes and thinks students will flock to the store.
“It sounds like something a lot of college-age people will like,” he said. “It sounds awesome.”
And if Memphians need more affirmation, they can look to Jacob Maybrey, 21, a Memphis native who attends University of Tennessee at Knoxville and frequently visits their Casual Pint location.
“It’s a great place to stop for a quick pint with friends or just a good place to pick up a six-pack for later,” he said. “It has a chill atmosphere and the employees are really nice.”