Brewing up Business: Chattanooga's newly opened Sturm Haüs offers 14 beers on tap, growlers to go

Brewing up Business: Chattanooga's newly opened Sturm Haüs offers 14 beers on tap, growlers to go

February 23rd, 2013 by Shelly Bradbury in Business Around the Region

Dave Sturm checks the taps Friday at Sturm Haus Beer Market on Houston Street.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

Where: Sturm Haüs, 1120 Houston Street

Hours: Monday through Thursday: 1 to 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 1 p.m. to midnight

When Dave Sturm was laid off a couple years ago, finding a new job was tough - so he and his wife started to consider new ways to make a living.

After a year-and-a-half of research, six months of preparation work and lots of lessons learned, the Sturms opened Sturm Haüs, a beer market that's focusing on growlers and beer-to-go. Their doors officially opened Friday night at 1120 Houston St.

"It's kind of a 'Friends' bar, a 'Cheers' bar, a place to stop on your way home," Marsha Sturm said.

The market has 14 beers on tap and another 45 brews for sale in cans and bottles. The Sturms are focusing on low-gravity beers and won't serve food, except for a few snacks like pretzels and peanuts.

Customers can come in and fill a 64- or 32-ounce growler from the tap, then take the brew home. The Sturms will vacuum seal the growlers so the jars won't violate open container laws.

The market also serves beer by the glass and is full of tables and chairs where beer-drinkers can mingle. The area includes a pool table, a shuffleboard table and Wi-Fi, all of which will be available free.

The Sturms' beer-to-go focus is unique in the Chattanooga area, said Sgt. Mark Haskins, supervisor of the regulatory bureau with the Chattanooga Police Department.

"They came to the board and said, 'We want to sell growlers, and we were like, 'OK, what's a growler?'" he said with a laugh. "It's kind of a new concept in Chattanooga."

He added that it's critical customers take their growlers home before opening them. Sealed brews can last a long as three weeks without going bad, Marsha Sturm said. Once a growler is opened, the beer stay fresh for about five days.

"We want to focus on and highlight local and regional breweries," Marsha Sturm said. "That's just kind of who we are. We want to support each other. And Chattanooga is very much that kind of city."

Dave and Marsha Sturm invested about $100,000 into the market. Both also work full-time jobs - Marsha is an administrative assistant at UTC, and Dave works as a computer programer and analyst with a company in Atlanta. Their son, UTC graduate Matt Sturm, will run the shop during the week.

Within six months, the Sturms hope to double the variety beers they're selling, both on tap and bottled.

"We're starting small and family-operated," Marsha Sturm said. "We'll see where it goes."