TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control may consider it a bar, but a tap house in Marana has been given the green light to reopen.
It comes after Gov. Doug Ducey ordered all Series 6 and 7 liquor license holders to close for 30 days, starting June 29.
“Everything we poured into it; heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears,” Dawn McMillan said.
Inspired by the prohibition, McMillan and her family built Growler’s Taphouse from the ground up nearly four years ago.
“So, everything in here is our hard work,” she said.
Which is why the thought of closing for good during the first shutdown was heartbreaking.
“We thought we were done,” McMillan said. “We got down to our last dime and the [Paycheck Protection Program] and the [Small Business Administration] saved us.”
By mid-May, dine-in service had returned.
“We were rocking and rolling,” she said. “We were doing better than last year at half-capacity if you can believe it!”
McMillan expressed deep gratitude towards the community, which rallied around small businesses during their time of need.
Last week, bars were abruptly told to close again.
“We shut down, we complied,” McMillan said. “We have a full-liquor bar; a Series 6, but we do sell 56 percent food.”
With $16,000 worth of food waiting to be sold and doubts about surviving another shutdown, McMillian spent most of last week reaching out to officials.
“Law enforcement, the governor’s office, the county, the city of Marana,” she said.
McMillan says Ducey’s office was responsive. She soon received clarity from the state, confirming that the order only applies to Series 6 and 7 liquor license holders “whose primary sale is alcohol.” With most of Growler’s sales coming from food, and an “excellent” rating from the Pima County Health Department on their cleanliness standards, the business was told it could reopen.
“Now, we are on our third prohibition reopen,” McMillan joked.
Growler’s Taphouse, located on Silverbell Road just north of Cortaro Road, is set to reopen on Tuesday, July 7.
McMillan hopes her persistence will benefit others.
“If other small businesses see that we were able to reopen and they weren’t aware of that, maybe now they will be,” she said.
According to Liquor Licenses and Control, it is up to each establishment to determine (and prove) their primary purpose is not the sale of alcohol in order to remain open. Merely offering food is not sufficient.
Establishments that sell mostly alcohol may continue to offer food and beverages through to-go and carry-out services only.