New establishment features craft beer and cocktails with a hometown twist
GRANVILLE — The past several years have been a boon for those who enjoy a good beer. The craft beer industry has exploded, and beer lovers have more choices than ever when looking to hoist a glass.
Craft beer, made in smaller batches or by smaller, often local breweries, has become an undisputed success. Many small breweries or establishments focusing on craft beer have become vital parts of their community’s revitalization efforts to attract more tourism dollars.
Granville’s Lost Duck Tavern is scheduled to open on Friday, July 12, and owners John and Tirena Sullivan are looking forward to helping their patrons enjoy something different when they take a seat at the bar.
“I’d like to help people broaden their horizons so they can begin to enjoy all of the good beer that’s available now. There’s so much out there,” John Sullivan said.
Sullivan has made a career out of being knowledgeable about beer. In addition to having decades of experience in the industry, he also helped establish Chicago’s Goose Island Brew Pub, and is a certified “cicerone,” or an expert on the many facets of delivering the best beer possible to customers.
Featuring better ingredients, a wider variety, bolder flavors and constant innovation, craft beer is the most rapidly growing segment of the industry.
“There’s a big difference between craft beer and an industrial beer like Bud Light,” he said.
Sullivan said freshness is a major issue with beer, and added that excessive transportation time, or a lengthy period sitting in a warehouse, results in the less-than-appealing, but all-too-familiar taste for regular beer drinkers.
The Lost Duck Tavern will still offer “industrial” beers such as Budweiser, Bud Light, Busch Light and PBR, but their specialty will be higher-quality offerings.
“A higher price for a craft beer can discourage some people from trying something different. I’ve learned it’s best to charge the same price as other beers in order to take that out of the equation,” he said.
Tangled Roots, the popular craft brewery in Ottawa, will have several of its beers available at the Lost Duck Tavern. Sullivan is also looking forward to seasonal offerings.
“That means we’ll have special beers for Ocktober Fest, for winter, and other seasonal varieties,” he said.
Selections from Revolution, Bell’s, Goose Island, Killian’s and Guinness breweries will also be part of the Lost Duck menu.
For those who would rather enjoy cocktail hour than “beer-thirty,” Sullivan will be serving a variety of drinks that have been given a unique twist and named with a nod toward their new home.
“We want to celebrate and help honor that hometown connection, so each name was inspired by something local,” he said.
“Putnam Punch” features an earthy blend of juices, bitters and Bacardi rum; the “Blue Heron” is a tart margarita made with Jose Cuervo, Blue Curacao, lime juice, simple syrup and salt; the “Blue Violet” is made with Hendricks gin, a simple syrup of blueberry and sage, and tonic; a “River Breeze” includes Tito’s vodka, cranberry syrup, grapefruit juice, bitters and soda water; “White Oak Lemonade” is a refreshing sour made with Jack Daniels, lemon juice and a simple syrup; and the “Granville Echo” is a classic Old Fashioned made with Bulliet bourbon.
Rite of passage
Also at home behind the bar is a bottle of the regionally infamous Jeppson’s Malort liqueur. Sullivan said it’s a tradition and rite of passage for a first-time visitor to a Chicago bar to be given a shot by friends. Sullivan described the drink, created in the 1930s by Swedish immigrant Carl Jeppson, as tasting like “gasoline and burnt rubber.”
The Sullivans purchased the Granville building located at 301 S. McCoy St., and they have made extensive improvements. They initially planned on opening this spring, but the excessive rain delayed construction work.
Sullivan said they have repaired the building’s masonry and roof, and also rehabbed the entire interior. The large walk-in cooler that was previously inoperable has been repaired and will allow for the proper storage of the varieties of beer.
Wanting to purchase a building they could both live and work in, John said Granville and Putnam County offered exactly what they were looking for as they searched for an ideal location.
They are now dedicated to becoming a part of their new hometown. They also hope to work with other businesses and groups to provide Granville with the types of entertainment options common in larger communities, such as regular block parties or street concerts.
As patrons enjoy their drinks, the Lost Duck will also be offering leagues for darts and pool, as well as a league for their bowling machine. Sports fans can choose from three televisions to watch, and, in the future, Sullivan said they hope to offer quality pub food.
“This is a nice town, and we’re happy to be doing business here. We’re really excited to be a part of this community, and it’s exactly what we were looking for,” Sullivan said.