After months of delay and anticipation, the Tucson tasting room and bottle shop known as Tap & Bottle will open next week at 403 N. Sixth Ave., just north of downtown.
Scott and Rebecca Safford, the husband-and-wife team behind the venture, hope to launch as early as Monday as they put the finishing touches on a business more than a year in the making.
The concept behind the shop is to provide a space where unique craft beers and wines from around the world can be enjoyed in-house or purchased and then taken home.
Nothing is made on premises, but 21 beers, including one cask-conditioned beer, and six types of wine will be on tap. An additional 400 bottles of beer and wine will be available toward the back of the building.
Customers will be able to mix and match their beer bottle selections. The shop will also fill growlers.
The selections on tap will constantly change and feature a mix of local, national and international options, from sour beers to saisons.
"Even though we aren't a brewery or a winery, we wanted to create that kind of feeling," said Scott, 43.
The idea was inspired by the Saffords' travels through the beer strongholds of the American West.
The couple met at the Hotel Congress Tap Room and have based entire vacations around visiting breweries in California, Colorado and Oregon.
During their travels, the Saffords were intruiged by tasting rooms that doubled as bottle shops, such as The Beer Mongers shop in Portland, Ore. and Bottlecraft in San Diego.
They wondered, "Why doesn't Tucson have something like that?"
"It seemed like a good time overall to open a shop here," Rebecca, 35, said. "There is so much going on right now with craft beer in Tucson."
The Saffords had hoped to open Tap & Bottle last fall, but hit a few speed bumps along the way.
Extra work went into converting the space, once home to a sash and door company and most recently an art gallery, into a tasting room.
"We had things we needed to work through in terms of permits and zoning," said Rebecca, who quit her job as an academic adviser with Pima Community College to open Tap & Bottle. "We have never opened a place like this. It has been like going to school for architecture, engineering and city planning all at once."
Rebecca said they looked positively at the delays, taking the extra time to work out the details of the shop.
They enlisted local metal- and woodworkers to create a distinct look for the space.
Austen Bramhall of Tucson Iron Works produced the bar's drip tray, as well as most of the tables and shelving.
Woodworker Peter Baer created the bar and the large community table, which incorporates mesquite wood from Sonoita.
Rebecca said the entire community has been supportive of their efforts. Tips for success have been streaming in from restaurants and breweries all over the city.
The Saffords hope their business will add to the rich texture of Tucson's downtown area.
"We want to have a meeting place for people passionate about beer and wine, but with a neighborhood feel to it," Rebecca said.
Tap & Bottle
403 N. Sixth Ave.
Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at email@example.com or 807-8430.