Chapin couple invites locals to ‘tap’ into love of craft beer
The idea of opening up a coffeeshop in their town morphed into a slightly different venture for a Chapin couple. Serving up craft beer and conversation, Tap It! Bottles and Brews opened last December.
Chapin residents Jesse McClung and Mark Stanczyk wanted to give their neighbors a place to enjoy a beer and good company instead of having to fight Harbison traffic or drive 30 minutes one way to downtown Columbia. It took about two years to find the perfect location, but locals and visitors to Lake Murray can now find a unique selection in the heart of Chapin on Old Lexington Highway in the former Chapin Chop House.
“We have things you can’t find in the grocery store,” McClung said.
The duo said they considered going the coffeehouse route for their first venture together, but they opted not to compete with fellow Chapin business The Wired Goat.
McClung and Stanczyk are craft beer aficionados but are new to the small business game. Stanczyk works in medical imaging technology while McClung is trained in landscape architecture. McClung said they took a leap of faith with the new business, but that she’s been pleasantly surprised with the positive response from locals who agreed a place to enjoy craft beer was needed in the town.
“I enjoy being able to educate people new to craft beer and helping them find what they like,” McClung said.
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Holy City Washout Wheat
Frothy Beard Ándale Pale Ale
Swamp Cabbage Brewery Chocolate Covered Pretzel Stout
McClung and Stanczyk aim to bring not only convenience but also variety into their customers’ lives. They’ve tapped 65 different beers since opening and have 10 on tap at all times.
“There’s something for everyone,” McClung said. “We want to expand (people’s) horizons.”
“I’m passionate about this. It’s not just a job,” Stanczyk added.
Stanczyk said he’s tries to “focus on the homegrown stuff” with brews from South Carolina and Georgia breweries, including Columbia-based River Rat Brewery.
“We’ll go out of our way to find what people request,” Stanczyk added.
Getting the beer to the customer is a one-of-kind system at Tap It! Bottles and Brews. Stanczyk installed one of the only nitrogen taps in the region and said it gives the brews, especially the already bitter stouts, an enhanced flavor.
“It makes the beer creamier … It’s a difference experience,” he said. “(And) drinking good beer is an experience.”
Tap It! has a limited food menu, but the business has a good relationship with restaurants in the shopping center and people often order over from the nearby Reggo’s Pizza.
“It’s a win-win,” Stanczyk said of people being able to support two businesses at once.
McClung is organizing more events as popularity grows. The Tap It! calendar has added live music and game nights with Cards of Humanity and tabletop cornhole, and McClung is researching how to incorporate life-size Jenga into the schedule.
Even if you can’t stick around for a game or a song, Tap It! intends to have its customers covered. Stanczyk said growler fills are available and make up about half of their business. He’s also working to obtain plastic growlers for boaters heading out on Lake Murray.
Part of being a locally owned business is giving back, the pair say, even if the business is just a few weeks old. Tap It! has donated growlers and gift cards for local fundraisers and the Chapin rugby team.
“It’s all about shopping and supporting the town,” McClung said.
Stanczyk has plans to expand in the future and start brewing his own supply for Tap It! Bottles and Brews.
Tap It! Bottles and Brews also has small-batch wines and ciders available. Follow on Facebook for information on the latest taps and upcoming events.