Husband and wife Kevin Thibodeaux and Cathrine Kinslow sold the business in mid-May to Dallas resident Todd Quigley for an undisclosed amount. Thibodeaux began soliciting buyers in March in anticipation of moving to New Orleans this summer where he and Kinslow are building a new home.
"We've known this chapter was going to have to close at some point," he says. But he wasn't going to choose just any buyer; Thibodeaux wanted someone competent and capable of carrying the torch. (We named Craft and Growler one of the best beer bars in Dallas-Fort Worth in 2014, so there's that to live up to.)
"In the age of big box stores and Amazons, what's valued is things that are organic and eclectic and funky and weird," he says.
Quigley, who formerly worked in consulting sales, was looking to invest in a new industry when he heard Craft and Growler was for sale. He wasn't necessarily looking to own a bar, but this one in particular spoke to him because it functions more like a "high-end Starbucks" where people get together to drink "very good" beer, he says.
"I like the community aspect of it and the name of it," Quigley says. "And I love craft beer."
As word of the sale began to trickle out in online groups over the weekend, Quigley said several people came into Craft and Growler to ask about what might change. His answer: Not much.
Quigley is planning a few cosmetic changes, such as adding garage doors on one of the walls so they can be rolled up on nice days and let in fresh air. He also hopes to add a crowler machine in the future.
But as far as the beer selection, Quigley hopes customers won't notice a difference. He aims to curate the same quality of beers that include approachable styles as well as unique and hard to find options. That includes continuing to support local breweries, too.
"I'm open to suggestions for sure, but the heart of this definitely would never change," Quigley says.
And what of Craft and Growler's patented "beer gun" draft system? Thibodeaux owns the patent, but has "no immediate plans" to use it, he says. Quigley could open another Craft and Growler location with the system in D-FW if he wants. (He's considering it, but doesn't have solid plans at the moment.)
Longtime fans will still see Thibodeaux at Craft and Growler in the coming months, as he trains Quigley and helps transition operations. Thibodeaux is sentimental about leaving -- he'll miss the people he's met during his four years behind the bar most, he says -- but is proud of the business' legacy. He hopes to do something in New Orleans that will help the local community in the same way Craft and Growler did, though that doesn't necessarily mean opening a bar.
"I'm really proud of the fact we helped Expo Park become more of a destination because it's a neighborhood I always loved and I've been coming to since late '90s. I'm proud of the fact we helped started the movement ... and I'm proud of the fact we were able to help breweries get their beer out there at a time when they were so young," Thibodeaux says. "I hope to do something out there that has a similar impact on others."