Photo: roxannejomitchell, Flickr
A weekly look at the draft selections in beer-friendly bars across the country.
How does a business go from a "straight up, honest-to-goodness, white trash convenience store" to one of the best beer destinations in the state of Texas? Well, bringing in a little outside perspective and a personal touch never hurt.
When Austin's Whip-In opened up back in 1986, now General Manager Dipak Topiwala would have used the quote above to describe his family store -- selling "crappy foods" and gasoline, competing for business with the Texaco across the street.
During those early days, though, one major deal helped seal Whip-In's fate. "Gas wasn't doing us any good," explained Topiwala. So his family made an agreement with their cross-street rival: "We'll give up gas, but you don't sell any beer."
Read on about Whip-In and find their recent draft list, after the jump... Whip-In decided to use their newfound cornering of the beer market to their advantage and focused on stocking the flood of imports that were entering the U.S. market at the time. The store featured a selection of brews Texans couldn't find elsewhere and people started to notice. "Beer became the mainstay," says Topiwala. "We got to be known throughout Texas as the beer stop on the Interstate."
When Topiwala returned to the family business in 2004 after spending years in the San Francisco Bay Area, they were "still very much just a convenience store." But as he proudly put it: "We still had the best f***ing selection of beer in Texas." So based his experiences in California, he decided to take that beer selection to its next logical progression: a renewed focus on local and craft beer.
By 2009, Whip-In had added 25 draft lines pumping out almost entirely craft beers, the majority of them local. He converted their license so they could go beyond retail, setting up a full bar on the premises as well as offering growlers, providing draft beer to-go. "Now [patrons] can buy [beer] here and enjoy it here, or they can buy it and leave and enjoy it somewhere else," Topiwala explained.
Topiwala says 12 more draft lines are on the way and just in time too. "There's a boom in breweries here in Austin," he told us, saying they expect as many as 9 more on the way. And if that's not enough, Whip-In plans on brewing their own beers in the near future.
It's safe to say this isn't your father's convenience store anymore! But it's still a family business: Mom still cooks homemade Indian food that's become a local favorite. And as Topiwala points out, it pairs well with a lot of their beers. India Pale Ale, anyone?
Check out Whip-In's recent draft list:
- Live Oak Hefe
- Live Oak Liberation IPA
- Live Oak Pilz
- Live Oak Big Bark Amber Lager
- Franconia Brewing Kolsch
- (512) Alt
- (512) Wit
- (512) IPA
- (512) Pecan Porter
- St Arnold's Elissa IPA
- Independence Brewing Stash IPA
- Real Ale Brewing Devil'sBackbone Tripel
- Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale
- Deschutes Black Butte Porter
- Boulevard Tank 7 Saison
- New Belgium Ranger IPA
- Avery Karma Ale
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA
- Guinness Draught
- Trumer Pilz
- Piraat IPA Tripel