Booming beer business has Bartell Drugs looking beyond SLU store

SEATTLE - Who knew the local drugstore could end up being a hot spot to grab a growler? It turns out in South Lake Union it is and now Bartell Drugs says it's considering expanding this foamy feature to some of its other store locations.

Before moving into the South Lake Union neighborhood, the Seattle-based company knew it wanted to try something new, something unique, something to suggest this wasn't just your grandma's pharmacy.

"We have six beers on tap," says Jessica Byron, assistant store manager. "You can either bring in your own growler or purchase one from us and then fill it with beer."

The South Lake Union Growler Station, also known as S.L.U.G., features six locally made beers which according to Byron, has definitely been one of the highlights among customers since opening earlier this month.

"We have had people take pictures saying they can't believe it, this is great, it's amazing," Bryon says.

The SLU store marks a "return" to the neighborhood which originally served as the company's corporate headquarters. But before the grand opening Bartells made sure to do some market research, especially when it came to its beer business.

"We did several focus groups with staff at Amazon," says Helen Neville, a Bartells spokeswoman. "We listened to what they liked so we could tailor the assortment."

Neville says if the company opens growler stations inside some of its other stores it will also tailor the selection to suit the local neighborhood.