Indiana Chain Opens 20th Store
Indianapolis-based chain 21st Amendment Wine & Spirits opened its 20th unit—the largest location to date at 10,000 square feet—in Westfield, Indiana, in October. The store offers 1,200 spirits SKUs ranging from $8.99 a 750-ml. bottle of Windsor Canadian whisky to $6,000 for a decanter of Louis XIII de Rémy Martin Cognac. With 2,200 beer SKUs available, 21st Amendment puts a focus on American craft brands, including Boulevard Brewing Co. and Founders Brewing Co. ($6.99 to $19.99 a six-pack of bottles). The store also features 21st Amendment’s Wine Gallery, which offers a wide range of 2,700 wine SKUs, from value-driven labels like Chile’s Casa Mateo ($5.98 a 750-ml. bottle) to several vintages of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (up to $14,000). In addition, wine inventory includes labels that can only be found at 21st Amendment, which purchases and imports whole lots of small-production brands. “Some of these wineries are strictly family operations,” owner Jim James explains. “We seek out products that are particularly outstanding.” The store hosts wine tastings on Fridays and Saturdays and also features a private room with a kitchen for formal wine events, classes on food and wine pairing, and wine education. The chain recently received approval from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust to provide training for their certifications—the first and only such partnership in the state. An Indianapolis institution for more than four decades, 21st Amendment shows no signs of slowing down and may add more units eventually. “If we find something we like, we’ll keep going,” James says. “We’ve been in business for 42 years and we just keep growing.”
North Dakota Retailer Adds Growler Bar
Two locations of Happy Harry’s Bottle Shops in Grand Forks, North Dakota, have added The Growler Station Express kiosks. Using the patented counter-pressure Pegas system, the four-tap kiosks allow customers to take home draft beer that lasts 30 to 45 days. “As the craft beer segment keeps growing, we wanted something that would set us apart from our local competition and that our customers could appreciate,” says general manager Greg Rixen. The store sells 32- and 64-ounce growlers for $5, or customers can bring their own. A fill costs between $6.50 and $24.99 depending on the available brews, which recently included Goose Island Brewing Co.’s Bourbon County stout, Deschutes Brewing Co.’s Abyss Imperial stout and Redhook Brewery’s Pumpkin porter. Rixen notes that growler options emphasize seasonal and limited-edition brews, which will provide North Dakota—a market that’s often bypassed by exclusive offerings—with expanded choice. “It really gives us a whole other level of craft beers available for our customers,” he says. Since the taps enable sampling, customers have the opportunity to taste new beers before making a purchase. Growler sales in the state are permitted on a municipal basis, and Happy Harry’s plans to roll out The Growler Station Express to its Fargo stores as soon as that city passes the necessary legislation, which is expected this year.
Wine App Enables In-Store Pickup
Wine-focused mobile app Drync launched a feature called Drync Infinite Shelf in December, allowing users to buy bottles in the app and pick them up later in retail stores. In the app’s standard platform, users can take a photo of a wine, identify it using Drync’s database of over 3 million brands, purchase from a 30,000-label catalogue and—where legal—have the wine shipped to their home. CEO Brad Rosen notes that Drync Infinite Shelf eliminates the hassles associated with shipping alcohol directly to consumers and decreases wait times, as local wholesalers often have the selected wines already in stock. The company hopes its new feature will help smaller stores bring in more foot traffic and compete with big-box chains. While currently available only in Boston, the company plans to roll out Drync Infinite Shelf to at least four more markets in 2015 and may eventually incorporate beer and spirits sales.