What’s The Difference Between A Taproom & A Brew Pub?

Here at Blue Wolf Brewing, we work hard to make sure everyone is comfortable when they visit our taproom. Many people are still new to the whole craft beer scene and might feel intimidated when they walk through the door.

taproom example in minnesota

Here at Blue Wolf Brewing, we operate a taproom. Taprooms are a fairly new concept here in Minnesota and only started to be allowed in 2011. What this designation means is that we can sell the beer we make at our brewery for you to consume onsite. The beer offered can only be from Blue Wolf Brewing, and the taproom must be attached to the brewery. At these places, you are also able to buy crowlers and growlers to take home with you to enjoy at your home.

In Minnesota, a crowler is a 750ml (25.4oz) glass, stainless steel, or aluminum container, and a growler is a 64 oz. glass, stainless steel, or aluminum container. These make great options to take your favorite beer home with you!

Additionally, since we operate as a taproom, we are not allowed to prepare food. While we’re able to sell prepackaged items like pretzels, chips, cheese curds, etc., we can’t prepare any food. To put it simply, we can’t cook anything and then serve it to you.

This is one of the large reasons why food trucks and taprooms work so closely together. At a taproom you can bring in food from anywhere, but there will be no on-site food preparation. However, this is a wonderful opportunity to support area restaurants by ordering food for take-out. Near our taproom, we’re lucky to have 10 restaurants within a couple blocks of us that we highly encourage you to support and get your food from!

What Exactly Is A Brew Pub?

brewpub example in minnesota

A Brew Pub on the other hand is a full-service restaurant that makes beer. This type of brewer’s license has been around for decades. An establishment like this will make a few of their own beers, but also have a full liquor license. It is very common to see ‘guest’ beers on tap, along with wine and liquor. The reason they can have a full liquor bar is because of the food they offer.

This goes back to days of old when people were concerned with the higher alcohol percentages of liquor which could lead to people becoming drunk too quickly. To address this issue, the bars had to have a percentage of their total sales include food sales. The idea was that if people were eating, they weren’t drinking, and the food would help absorb some of the alcohol.

New Brewery Operation Models

This is where it starts to get confusing because there are hybrid versions of these models that are beginning to pop up. One of the current trends is for a taproom to have a permanent food truck at their location or even rent out an attached kitchen space for someone else to run. Though the space and equipment may be owned by the brewery, everything else, including the food preparation, is handled by the business running the kitchen.

Really want to be confused? There is an amendment to the taproom license that allows a brewery to prepare food using certain appliances like a pizza oven, microwave, and panini press.

I know, clear as mud.

How To Tell What Type Of Brewery It Is?

The best rule of thumb is to go to the brewery’s website and look around. It is here that you will find what types of services are offered to the patrons. If you’re ever in doubt, just call or email them.

Here at Blue Wolf Brewing, it’s important to us that you enjoy yourself when visiting. We want to have a welcoming atmosphere where friends, families and strangers alike can have a great time together.

While you’re here, don’t hesitate to let someone know that you’re new and might need some help. Our team will make sure you feel welcomed and that you get just the beer you’re looking for!