Behind Bars: Three Tigers Brewing

Erica Thompson
Scott Wilkins and Brett Fulton

The owners of Three Tigers Brewing Company have struck gold three times. First, in 2013, they launched the well-received Mai Chau Truck, specializing in Vietnamese-inspired street food. Then, in 2015, they transitioned to Mai Chau on Prospect, a brick-and-mortar quick-service restaurant in Granville. And since April 2016, they've also been operating Three Tigers Brewing next door. 

But the brewery got off to a somewhat rocky start.

“We had struggles with our equipment when we first opened, so it took us a few months to get beer on tap,” said bar manager Brett Fulton in a late-August interview at the bar. “[And] about a half hour before we opened, the electricity goes out.”

“We were still packed,” Three Tigers co-owner Scott Wilkins added. “It was dark and people were drinking beer.”

“Or roaming around looking for an ATM to get cash,” Fulton said.

Luckily, the power returned in about an hour, and Three Tigers has gone on to turn out pale ales, IPAs — Fulton co-designed crowd-pleaser My Two Cents — and the like, drawing a familiar crowd from Denison University and residents of the village.

“I'd say it's more of a local crowd with a lot of regulars — people that we see three, four times a week,” Fulton said, and mentioned a group of professors that comes in to play cards each Wednesday. ?We have some we see every night.”

It's that “small, college-town feel” that has kept Fulton in Granville off and on for about 20 years. And growing up, he was no stranger to the beer industry.

“My dad worked for Anheuser-Busch for 37 years,” said Fulton, who worked as a production manager at Gannett and then at Granville's beloved Brews Cafe, which closed last year. At Three Tigers, Fulton also brings his creativity to the craft cocktails, which include Asian-inspired drinks with lemongrass-infused vodka and occasionally dragonfruit or lychee.

For patrons who are hesitant to try the Asian-inspired cuisine — the full Mai Chau menu is available in the bar — there's burger night on Thursdays, wing nights and Sunday brunch. Also, each month there's a “kitchen takeover” by a local food truck.

In addition to tasty beer and food, customers can also enjoy live music most Saturdays (bluegrass bands are a staple). They can also expect a huge celebration honoring the brewery's anniversary next spring, complete with the second edition of a homebrew contest, which generated 50 submissions and a winning product (Morning Ride with a Zombie) that was so popular Three Tigers decided to keep brewing it in-house.

“We'd like to grow into a production facility and start to see some of our beer out in the Columbus market,” Wilkins said of his vision for the brewery. “The goal is to have some Mai Chaus opening in Columbus and pouring Three Tigers beers there.”