Arooga's Logo

It would’ve been easy for president and co-founder Gary Huether, Jr. to name his chain of beer-tastic sports bars after himself, but what would be the fun in that? What’s really fun is naming it onomatopoeically for the sound of a Model-T car horn. It wasn’t Huether’s idea but rather a name selected from a contest launched to come up with the restaurant’s name back in 2008 when it opened. Still, it shows his emphasis on being open to new things, unconventional ideas, and giving his customers what they want. The winner who named it wanted cheesiest menu item named after him, hence Arooga’s offers Pete’s Pepper Jack Cubes that pair with any of the 30 to 60 beers on tap. There are 11 locations in Pennsylvania at the moment, but now that Arooga’s has begun franchising there will soon be 48 locations across six states in cities including New York and Chicago. Each one is, to borrow their motto, the basecamp for awesome.

Huether is a self-professed avid beer drinker who enjoys all styles across the malted and hopped spectrum. The tap lists reflect his own and his customers’ tastes where patrons will find national brands such as Bud Light and Blue Moon to craft lovers’ dreams including Bells Two Hearted and, when available, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. There’s even house brands like Arooga’s Wingstinguisher IPA (and a double version) created to complement the National Buffalo Festival award-winning wings. The beer is brewed by local Pizza Boy Brewing, whose Citra hopped Pilsner is a great choice to wash down the house-made Wagyu Kobe burgers.

Gary Huether Jr Arooga's

Gary Huether Jr. Arooga’s Co-Founder and President

By catering to a wide range of palates, Arooga’s continues to find success in their strategic growth. “We are excited about the growth of the craft beer industry, and have watched its progression as it began to take shares from larger conglomerates,” said Huether. “We were one of the first restaurants in our area to dive into the craft beer phenomenon over five years ago.” By creating partnerships with top East Coast breweries, e.g. Dogfish Head, Troegs and Victory, the company is able to receive coveted, limited offerings such as Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and Dogfish’s whopper, 120 Minute IPA. It should come as no surprise that their Craft Beer Manager who determines the draft lineup for each location is a Cicerone-certified beer server.

And whether preferences lean toward Light/Lite beer or a feast-in-a-glass like those imperial IPAs, everyone digs the Taplister-sourced beer lists that Arooga’s prepares thanks to Taplister’s Case Plan which allows users to publish tap lists to social media and websites (and even printed menus). It’s how Arooga’s fans get up to the second info on what’s pouring at each location just by visiting Twitter of Facebook. “Consumers love that we have accurate, real time draft lists, which makes their decision making easy and convenient,” commented Huether. “Our relationship with Taplister has greatly enhanced the guest experience, as well as streamlined our operation by centralizing our beer list updates and linking to our website and social media pages so that our customers are able to view our lists by location, in real time, via multiple channels. Taplister also helps us to track usage so that we can make educated determinations of what drafts we should offer.”

Arooga's Front Entrance

Arooga’s opened a beautiful 9,600 square foot location adjacent to Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT in March 2015.

Huether then added, “Taplister saves us a tremendous amount of time from manually updating each of our locations’ lists. The ability Taplister provides for us to be able to publish our beer lists on social media sites has helped us gain many new customers that are familiar with craft beers, and coming in because of a limited release.”

So whether guests come for the wings, the high def TVs (over 100 per restaurant), or the beer selection that frequently entails firkin tappings and Randalized beers, not to mention half priced growlers during happy hour, as Huether put it, “We have something for everyone including a separate bar area for drinkers and separate dining areas for families. The demographic, he noted, tends to range from eight to eighty. “Our overall culture is casual and laid back.” As well as environmentally responsible. Huether pointed out that Arooga’s has been certified green by the Green Restaurant Association, not to toot his own classic horn.

Arooga's Interior  

Brian Yaeger is the author of Oregon Breweries and Red, White, & Brew. When he’s not drinking beer or writing about it, he welcomes beer trippers to Portland at his bed’n’beer, Inn Beervana.

 

Recommended Posts