BevMo Adds California Unit
Concord, California–based Beverages & More! (BevMo) opened a new store in Bakersfield, California, in February. True to its location in the state’s Central Valley, the outlet offers 1,800 wine SKUs, including over 150 selections from Paso Robles, Santa Barbara and the Central Coast. Wines start at $5 a 750-ml. bottle of Challis Lane Merlot and top out at $270 for the Château Clos Fourtet, although BevMo’s loyalty program and promotions can lower prices for frequent shoppers. The store’s 1,649 spirits SKUs range from Seagram’s vodka ($10 a 750-ml. bottle) to Louis XIII de Rémy Martin Cognac ($3,500), while its 1,500 beer SKUs include such national domestic brands as Coors ($5.99 a six-pack of cans) and craft favorites like Stone Brewing Co. ($19 a variety 12-pack of bottles). The Bakersfield BevMo also offers kegs ($109 to more than $200), soda and other mixers, snacks, bar accessories, glassware, and cigars. Tastings take place every Friday and Saturday ($2 fee for a flight of wine or spirits), and customers can check the store’s sampling schedule online. “We want our customers to explore and try new tastes,” says director of influencer marketing and events Kris Mulkey. With 156 locations across California, Arizona and Washington, BevMo plans to continue expanding, with more stores opening later this year.
North Dakota Store Expands Size
Bottle Barn Liquors relaunched its West Fargo, North Dakota, location in February, taking advantage of the city’s growing Veterans Boulevard area and more than doubling its previous size to 11,000 square feet. The updated store joins Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota, units and features a floor-to-ceiling fireplace, a walk-in cigar humidor, and eight televisions that display sports and cooking shows. Customers can sample local craft beer from an eight-tap growler bar, which features the Pegas draft system, and wine from a WineStation dispenser. Bottle Barn sells growlers of craft beer ($4.99 to $16.99 a 32- or 64-ounce growler fill) and has an additional 1,500 beer SKUs, from Natural Ice ($4.99 a six-pack of 16-ounce cans) to Guinness The 1759 ($36 a 750-ml. bottle). The store’s 3,000 wine SKUs start at $5.99 a 750-ml. bottle of Barefoot Chardonnay and top out at $500 for the 2010 Gaja Barbaresco. Bottle Barn’s 2,000 spirits SKUs range from $0.99 a 50-ml. bottle of Windsor Canadian whisky to $5,000 a 750-ml. bottle of The Glenrothes 1970 Extraordinary Cask single malt Scotch whisky, with more than 100 Scotch offerings in stock. Glassware, mixers and tobacco products are also available, and the store hosts regular beer, wine and spirits tastings. “Buying liquor is fun,” says owner Joel Wold. “My philosophy is to make a warm environment for customers.”
Michigan Shop Focuses On In-State Brews
The Beer Grotto, a lounge and retail shop specializing in Michigan-brewed craft beer, opened in Ann Arbor in January, joining a unit in nearby Dexter. At 1,500 square feet, the store has 36 taps, 70 percent of which focus on in-state producers, including Founders Brewing Co., New Holland Brewing Co. and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. The remaining taps feature craft beers from around the country, such as Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA. Guests can try up to two samples for free, and they may also purchase 3-ounce pours ($1 to $4) or pints ($4 to $9.50). All beers can be purchased for carry-out in 32- and 64-ounce growlers ($6 to $60), and the shop offers a few large-format bottles ($12 to $25) as well. Wine is available by the glass or bottle ($7 to $33 a 5.5-ounce pour; $30 to $147 a 750-ml. bottle). The Beer Grotto requires employees to obtain Cicerone certification, and director of marketing Jake VanAtta points to customer service as key to the store’s success. “We take pride in knowing that our staff is educated on craft beer. When you come to one of our locations, you’re talking to an expert who can help guide your decisions,” he says. The store hosts events such as “Meet the Brewer” nights and regularly features specific breweries or beer styles as part of a “tap focus” program. At press time, the company expected to open a third location in Lansing in March.