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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tap Handle #385: Terrapin - Tree Hugger

Tap size:  11.25"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Terrapin Brewing has become very popular very rapidly, and their tap handles are no exception. With bold bright colors and lots of little details, this Tree Hugger tap is a beauty. Starting at the top, a turtle splashes through water in a three dimensional representation of the Terrapin logo. The shaft looks like a tree stump and has two sets of silver bands encircling it. As I mentioned above, it's the little details that set this tap can see the rings of the tree sculpted into the top of the shaft...the words "TERRAPIN BEER CO ATHENS, GA" are sculpted and raised from the shaft...the silver band at the bottom features the logo...the Tree Hugger label over the silver medallion is gorgeous. I've seen some other labels on this tap that are more plain, and the Tree Hugger label definitely is superior. The tap is identical front and back.

Click through to read more about Terrapin Brewing, their Tree Hugger beer, and to see more photos of this beautiful tap...

Terrapin Brewing was founded in Athens, Georgia in 2002 by John Cochran and Brian "Spike" Buckowski. Cochran was a University of Georgia graduate, and Buckowski was an American Brewers Guild graduate. The two men met in 1998 while working at Atlanta Brewing Company. Both men had been home brewing for years, and decided to partner with each other to start a craft brewing company in Athens, Georgia. Buckowski, a Grateful Dead fan, named the brewery after his favorite Grateful Dead album Terrapin Station. After creating a business plan, Buckowski and Cochran spent three unsuccessful years pitching investors to fund their startup costs for the Terrapin Brewing Company. In 2002, they created and introduced Terrapin's Rye Pale Ale at the Classic City Brew Fest in Athens, Georgia, which garnered praise by craft beer aficionados across the U.S. Later that year their Rye Pale Ale was awarded a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival, which helped garner Terrapin distribution opportunities across Atlanta. Terrapin began contract brewing with several breweries to produce their beer including; Frederick Brewing Company (now Flying Dog Brewery) in Frederick, Maryland, and Zuma Brewing Company in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 2006, Terrapin obtained an $800,000 investment from a pool of Athens' investors, which allowed them to buy brewing equipment and lease a small facility in Athens, Georgia where they began producing their own beer. In 2008, the brewery moved to a larger 45,000 square-foot facility, where it could produce up to 18,500 barrels per year. In 2011, Terrapin Beer Co. sold a minority interest of less than 25% to Miller Coors craft and import division Tenth and Blake Beer Company. The minority ownership was given in exchange for reducing a loan made by Tenth and Blake Beer Company in December 2010 to buy out a group of Terrapin investors. Cochran and Buckowski wanted to pay off the investors who bought into the venture in 2007 because they couldn’t agree about where Terrapin was headed or how to run the brewery. The deal allowed Terrapin to significantly reduce their debt burden and enabled them to invest in production capacity, since demand had exceeded production.

The expansion was completed in 2013, allowing distribution to expand into Maryland and Washington D.C. 35 new employees were hired, and fundraising and philanthropic events increased. The brewery also fell victim to antiquated Georgian brewing laws, which fined them for violating brewery tour restrictions. In Georgia, breweries are not allowed to sell beer in their tap rooms. Instead, they may conduct “brewery tours” that must last at least two hours. Beer may be served as samples, but the samples may not exceed 32 oz. Terrapin currently brews 5 year round varieties, with 4 seasonals, and several side projects, and collaborations with other breweries such as Heavy Seas, Left Hand, and Green Flash.

Tree Hugger is an altbier with a mild herbal spice hop aroma and a malty flavor profile featuring notes of caramel, toffee, and nuts. This malt-forward beer won a gold medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival. Weighted average on is 3.1 out of 5.

Terrapin Brewing
265 Newton Bridge Rd. 
Athens, Georgia, USA 30607

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