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Tapping into Dreams Frankfort's Self-Serve Taproom- POURter's: Written by Patti Nickell

Jonathan Seppenfield says his main goal is to ensure small breweries have a place in the public eye.  Since August of last year, he has been doing just that at POURter’s, Frankfort, Kentucky’s first ever self-serve tap house which he owns with his wife Tiffany.

“My idea is that if someone tries a particular beer here and likes it, I will encourage him/her to go to the brewery and check out what else they have,” says Seppenfield.

“I love people to come in and try something they’ve never had before,” he continues.  “Everyone knows Country Boy, but do they know Turtleback Ridge Brewery in Ewing, Kentucky?”

At POURter’s, they can find out by personalizing their tasting with a choice of 20 different taps with an ever-rotating line-up of beers, ciders, cocktails and even champagne.

Customers present a debit or credit card, and in return receive a beer card resembling a hotel key card to start a tab.

“The rest is up to them,” says Seppenfield.

Seppenfield was introduced to the concept at Pour Smart Bar while he was on a trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama, and was immediately intrigued.

Having had a long career in the spirits industry, with stints at Castle & Key, Woodford Reserve and Jim Beam, he decided on the spot that he wanted to duplicate the Alabama concept in Kentucky.

“Since I knew the adult beverage industry and Tiffany had her own marketing business, I thought we had it covered,” says Seppenfield.

Dreaming came easy.  The couple wanted to name their enterprise POURter to honor their son Tripp and Jonathan’s father J.P., both of whose middle names are Porter – although giving it the clever variation in spelling.

Jonathan wrote a business plan and Tiffany found the perfect location – POURter’s is located a short distance from the bustle of downtown in what was once a livery stable for wagons coming down the Old Frankfort Road into town.

In the post-wagon era, the industrial chic space also served as a gas station and a car detailing business.

Having written a business plan and found a location, the Seppenfields had no more excuses for not following their dream.

“After a couple of beers, we decided if we fail, we fail – it was time to act,” says Jonathan.

Needless to say, they didn’t fail.  Open daily (Monday to Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.), POURter’s has space for 41 patrons inside and another 60 in the back patio and spilling into the parking lot.

In addition to that line-up of (mostly) local beers, they offer batch cocktails such as bourbon ginger, jalapeno margaritas, espresso martinis and blackberry smashes.

But don’t be disappointed if your favorite isn’t available on your next trip.

“I don’t think we’ve made the same cocktail twice,” says Jonathan.  “Tiff makes five gallons at a time, and she never uses a recipe.

“The cocktails are super accessible,” he continues.  “There’s nothing theatrical about them – no smoke or dry ice.”

Accessibility also describes the food they offer, which includes build-your-own sandwiches, wraps and salads as well as

snacks such as soft pretzels with Yeti beer cheese and Frankfort’s famous Buffalo chicken dip.

“Food is served all day, and unlike our beverages, the menu is pretty standard all the time except when we have food trucks such as Rolling Smoke (barbecue) and Spice of Life (ethnic gourmet),” says Seppenfield.

All of this makes for a pretty lively crowd – but not too lively, at the insistence of the Seppenfields, who, as parents themselves, wanted to ensure their business was kid-friendly.

While Seppenfield says that right now he is satisfied with his Frankfort location, he eventually has an eye to expanding to college towns such as Richmond and Georgetown and to Northern Kentucky.

For now, the couple invite those who would like to have a “do-it-themselves” tap experience to come in and try favorites such as Ethereal, West Sixth, Mirror Twin and Country Boy beers and Blake’s hard cider, and who knows, maybe even a Turtleback Ridge craft brew.