Beer vernacular in general is a long and twisting road that traverses geography and centuries. It seems to be relative to the geography, or the time, or both the geography and time! Take terms you could use for what is commonly known stateside as a bar. For example: alehouse, beer garden, cocktail lounge, pub, public house, saloon… and the list goes on.
Similarly, take the relationship between the use of the word “taproom” and “brewpub”. Each are fairly non-descript in what they actually provide. Both specialize in beer but there are nuances worked into the differences.
Taprooms: Taproom is largely defined as an independent room with primarily beer (tap) which has historically resided in a pub or hotel. The room has one purpose; to serve drinks. Though mostly beer, cordials are often served. Expect a wide selection of beers on tap and a group of regulars.
Brewpubs: A brewpub is similar in many ways. One large difference is that food is a larger portion of the experience. Normally, it is a restaurant that produces and sells beer on-premises. Whether the food or the beer takes first fiddle is up for debate but the main differences are that taprooms are dedicated space dedicated to (mostly) beer and brewpubs do not have dedicated space and very often offer food.
Other factors vary by region but these are the foundational differences. Each model has it’s benefits and both are able to offer fantastic beer to their patrons… It really depends on the experience they’re looking for!