Q&A - Ed Buffington from The Community Tap, Greenville SC

Tell us about The Community Tap?

I co-founded The Community Tap in 2010 with my partner Mike Okupinski, and we’re a hybrid business model that combines retail beer and wine sales with a bar environment for on-premise consumption. While we started out as primarily a beer store, the wine program has taken on a life of its own over the past few years. And what started as a two person operation with us working 6-7 days a week each, has morphed into a business with three locations and close to thirty employees. Honestly, one of the best compliments I’ve received is from a British couple that have been regulars for years - they state that we’re ‘the closest thing to a British pub as they’ve found in the US’ — where the whole family is welcome and it’s more than a place to drink, but rather a community hub. 


How do you build a sense of community in your town and with your customers?

Personally my goal is to have one-on-one conversations with as many people who walk through the door as possible. This  moves us past the transactional nature of retail business into a more personal one where I learn what they enjoy drinking. Also, during that time, the customer can also learn about me this creating a personal relationship. Then, we complete that circle by offering products from producers, like Deliquente, that we believe in, and we can then share their story.  We’re also very involved in supporting local charities that have immediate and visible impact in our city. Then rinse and repeat on all of this over the course of 13+ years…


What do you love about Greenville, and why should folks visit?

Natural beauty abounds — whether you’re at the waterfalls off of Main Street or on Paris Mountain just on the edge of town, it’s very easy to be ensconced in nature’s embrace. Great weather — our spring and autumn weather is absolutely brilliant. Super nice people — pretty much everyone has a welcoming and cheerful attitude. Good food and drinks — I’m not going to say we’re a legit global food and beverage destination, but if you hit the right spots we have some real gems.  


Whats in your spritz, at the moment?

Deliquente Bizzarro, Cardamaro, Cava, and Star Anise syrup. Our General Manager, Neil Winter came up with the recipe which he has named it ‘A Riverland Runs Through It’ — a play on words from a popular American movie named ‘A River Runs Through It’ but with a nod to Riverland, Australia. (That Neil - always the clever one…