Hot Market for Craft Brews

by RaeAnne Marsh

the casual pint

“Arizona is becoming a hot bed around the country for the craft beer industry,” observes Chad Eby, who, with his wife, Amy, this past summer opened The Casual Pint in Chandler. They are the first to bring the fast-growing franchise west of the Mississippi. The Casual Pint is both market and pub, with more than 300 types of beer on the retail side and an ever-changing selection of brews on the tap wall.

The tap side of the store can seat 50 people inside and another 50 on the patio. While the focus is beer, the Ebys carry a few wines “so we can accommodate wine drinkers in a group,” Eby says. The beer selection is extensive, with styles that include the stand-bys of IPAs, stouts and porters with some rarer styles mixed in. “Sours are getting popular,” Eby says, “and we have goses, a beer from a little town in Germany that’s made with salt and coriander.” He brings to the enterprise a passion for beer that has made him a home brewer for three decades, and his senior design project as an undergrad in engineering was with a brewery.

“The craft beer market here is growing almost exponentially,” Eby notes. Ten years ago, there were only five or six breweries in all of Arizona. That jumped to 33 by 2011, 80 currently, and another 70 or so on the books to open in the next two to three years.

With a family-friendly atmosphere, The Casual Pint also serves flatbreads, wings and pretzels; keeps sodas and lemonade in the cooler for the kids; and offers board games for play.

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