Chicago Delivery App Opens New Location
The Chicago-based on-demand delivery application Foxtrot opened its second brick-and-mortar store in November in the city’s West Loop neighborhood. The company began in 2013 as a delivery-only service offering around 300 SKUs across beer, wine, spirits and snacks. “The idea behind the app was to create a curated corner store that lives in your phone and delivers in under an hour,” says CEO Mike LaVitola. Foxtrot opened a store serving as its distribution base in the city’s Lincoln Park area in early 2015. The new West Loop unit has a more inviting feel and includes a lounge where customers can taste beer, wine and spirits. “We tried to replicate the app experience in a physical store,” LaVitola explains. The shop’s inventory mirrors what’s available on the app, and LaVitola notes that the beverage alcohol mix includes local favorites and standby brands, as well as small-production and artisanal products. Roughly 55 wine SKUs include the 2013 Bex Riesling ($11 a 750-ml. bottle), the 2013 Seven Hills Malbec ($30) and Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne ($50). The store’s 50 spirits SKUs range from New Amsterdam vodka ($15 a 750-ml. bottle) to Whistlepig rye whiskey ($82). Beer SKUs total around 55 selections, and local brews like Revolution Eugene porter ($8 a six-pack of cans) and Moody Tongue Lemon saison ($12 a four-pack of bottles) sell well. Foxtrot has plans to expand outside of Chicago in 2016. “One of the key goals in opening the West Loop store was to get a model that we could replicate in new markets,” LaVitola says. “Now we’re looking into where it fits best.”
K&L Moves To New San Francisco Space
California specialist retailer K&L Wine Merchants moved its San Francisco unit to a nearby location in November. Joining sister stores in Hollywood and Redwood City, California, the new space has 23,000 square feet of capacity—nearly triple its former location, where it had operated since 2003. The larger sales floor enables K&L to increase facings by about 10 percent and place greater emphasis on spirits and craft beer offerings alongside wine. In addition, the new space features a large tasting bar. “It’s like a dream come true,” says spirits buyer David Driscoll. “The store is huge, and most of the building is actually warehouse space, offices, private lockers for customers and other cool resources.” Driscoll notes that before the move, many unique and esoteric products were stored at K&L’s Redwood City location—which had more space—but were typically sold to customers in San Francisco. “Now everything is here in San Francisco, where it sells,” he explains. “It’s a lot less work moving and transferring bottles.”
Charlotte Bottle Shop Debuts Second Unit
Charlotte, North Carolina–based Bulldog Beer & Wine opened a second location in December. The bottle shop and bar allows patrons to bring their dogs with them when stopping in for a pint or picking up a six-pack. “We cater to people with dogs and give them a place to go,” says manager Joe Fortier. The 5,000-square-foot store has over 500 craft beer and cider SKUs covering six-packs ($9.99 to $24.99) to single bottles ($3.50). Customers can create a mixed six-pack for $11.99. Bulldog’s 20 taps rotate frequently and focus on North Carolina producers, such as NoDa Brewing Co., Birdsong Brewing Co. and Foothills Brewing. Draft beer is available by the pint ($5 to $8), as well as in growlers ($16 to $28 a 64-ounce bottle). Roughly 200 wine SKUs range from $11 to $50 a 750-ml. bottle, and the venue offers 10 wines by the glass ($6 to $12). Bulldog has ample outdoor space and welcomes food trucks Thursdays through Saturdays. The venue also offers bookings for private parties and events. Fortier notes that the city’s growth has contributed to increasing demand for local brews. “The restaurant scene here has blown up, and beer goes hand in hand with that trend,” he says.