From a seat at the bar or at a table in the adjacent dinning area, guests can enjoy beer created just a few yards away, along with other microbrews, as well as Sunmill Wines, Lowes' own private brand. The Simpsonville Beer Den has eight taps – twice as many as at other stores to accommodate in housemade beers. Offerings change seasonally, and the retailer has created specific branding for each variety, most labels incorporating some variation on the den's whimsical masco, the Beer, or a bear with deer antlers.
Beer also can be taken home in 32- or 64-ounce growlers, or in 32-ounce "crowlers" – can that are filled and capped to order. The process reduces the amount of air in the container and lengthens the beer's shelf life, Lowe explains.
The glass-walled brewing room is visible from the indoor and outdoor seating areas, which also host tasting and music events (a schedule is posted at the bar). Rare among supermarkets, the operation is overseen by brewmaster who also collaborates with craft brewers in the Carolinas' vibrant craft beer community. The beers use as many local ingredients as possible, although hops must come from other regions.
"The pipe is transparent, so people can see the hops move through the piping," Lowe notes during a visit to the brewing room, describing the features as on of the store's "bits of theatre, however small." Lowe is working with local officials to get permission to sell Simpsonbille-made beer at its other store locations.
In addition to tasting events, the store hosts a "Brewniversity" to teach people about beer. "When people try new things, they expand their palate and get a fuller experience," Harvin Bedenbaugh, Beer Den master, remarks while working the taps during PG's visit.
As if that weren't enough, the store's beer cooler boasts the longest beer run in the country – 47 doors over 94 feet, Lowe points out, with a huge variety of both mass-market and craft beers. "We do single facings on most varieties and work hard to keep them in stock. We're big on first-to-shelf market launches."
– Article by Progressive Grocer, August 2017