Tri-It Taproom in Avon brings unique concept to the area
By Paul Palmer
AVON – A unique business in the state has opened in Avon, featuring self-serve alcohol. Tri-It Taproom opened in late June in the former Truffles Bakery location on Route 44. While new to the state, self-serve craft beer taprooms are now legal in more than 40 states.
Melissa Norris is the owner of Tri-It Taproom, which features 44 taps carrying craft beers, hard cider, and wine from Connecticut craft brewers. Norris had retired from a government job in South Carolina and moved north when her partner was transferred.
“My plan was retirement,” Norris said, “ but we decided to open a brewery.”
The concept was something Norris and her partner were familiar with as there is one in Aiken, SC where Norris lived. “We decided maybe that’s the thing to do and self-service had just been approved in Connecticut (in 2021).”
After searching for the right location, Norris set about designing the perfect place for folks to come and enjoy craft beers, have fun and even play games like Jenga and Beeropoly. She wanted to make a statement and create an experience for people like no one had done before in the state. When they visited the location for the first time, it was love at first sight. “I could see it in my mind as soon as I walked in,” she said.
Inside Tri-It Taproom, you will find a wide-open space with lots of windows that allow the natural light to fill the room. Once inside, guests will find the tap wall- and above each tap an electronic display with the name, the brewer, and details about the beer. There is an 18-seat bar area, tables inside and outside, as well as an area with chairs and a couch that is overlooked by a fireplace.
Norris says the response from the craft brewers and wine makers in Connecticut has been overwhelmingly positive. “When we started, we reached out to every CT brewery. It’s a win/win because if you are on our beer wall and a customer tries it and loves it, they going to go see what else the brewery has,” Norris said.
Most of the products carried at Tri-It Taproom are self-distributed by the makers, and Norris says you won’t find anything you can just buy at the store. The selections include – but are not limited to – pilsners, stouts, lagers, ales, and blondes. Customers can also mix their own combinations; think black and tans.
Here is how it works. All customers must present ID and pre-pay using a card or cash. They are then given a card that will allow them to self-pour a total of 32-ounces of beer or cider or a total of 10 ounces of wine. The customer must slide the card into a slot above the tape to activate it. When the pour is over, a display will show how much was poured and how much is left on the card. Once you reach the 32-ounce limit, your card no longer works. But you can speak with one of the trained workers, and after they are satisfied, you can re-up for more. Norris says the customer only pays for what they pour.
To allow customers to sample, one of the offerings is a flight of 4, four-ounce glasses. There are also pint glasses and logoed plastic cups available. The alcohol content is capped at 6% by state law on the products. Tri-It also has a kitchen featuring items such as giant pretzels, hummus, charcuterie and surf and turf (animal crackers and cheddar goldfish).
The business has already hosted live entertainment and that will continue along with Food Trucks that Norris is lining up.
Izzy Hill is one of Norris’ first employees. She says she has studied the craft beer industry and is comfortable recommending beers to customers. That is one of the themes at Tri-It, to have people with the knowledge of craft beer helping people decide what they may want to try based on what they already like. “I tell people why I like something,” said Hill. “And I love it when they like it.” She adds, “I like to try new beers so I can tell customers about them.”
Other craft brewers in the state also sell, but Norris says the difference is they only carry their own product, while hers has 44 different breweries on tap each day. The selections – all served from kegs – will rotate, and there is even a ranking system displayed on screens to show people what others like.
As Tri-It Taproom moves forward, Norris says she’s looking forwarding to meeting more people and letting them experience the self-pour business.
“I’m confident that we are good with people,” the owners said. “And if we are good with people, we will be alright.”
Tri-It Taproom is at 300 West Main St. in Avon and is open Wednesday thru Friday 3 to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from Noon til 9 p.m. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday. Tri-It also carries non-alcoholic beverages like soda’s and sparkling water.