Shop Window: Jul/Aug 2014 goes brick-and-mortar in Brooklyn, Ray's in Milwaukee gets a growler gallery and Somm star Ian Cauble launches

The brick-and-mortar location of focuses solely on beverage alcohol, offering nearly 200 SKUs of boutique American spirits and wine.
The brick-and-mortar location of focuses solely on beverage alcohol, offering nearly 200 SKUs of boutique American spirits and wine. Opens Spirits Shop In Brooklyn

Independent food and gift website—founded in 2012 by CEO Craig Kanarick, COO Sam Murray and chief creative officer Nancy Kruger Cohen—opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Brooklyn, New York’s Dumbo neighborhood in April. The store specializes in spirits and wine that are produced by small, independent American distilleries and wineries. The highly curated selection features roughly 150 spirits SKUs ($30 to $180 a 750-ml. bottle) and 25 wine SKUs ($17 to $50 a 750-ml. bottle), with more being added every week. Top-selling items include R. Franklin’s Bësk wormwood liqueur from Chicago-based Letherbee Distillers, Bourbon and moonshine from Brooklyn’s Kings County Distillery, and the Terroir and Botanivore gins from St. George Spirits in Alameda, California. Bourbon and gin tend to be the most popular overall categories. Wine offerings comprise boutique labels like Bridgehampton, New York’s Channing Daughters; Calistoga, California’s Dirty & Rowdy; and Salem, Oregon’s St. Innocent. The store’s online component, which ships to 32 states, offers gin and Bourbon subscriptions, priced from $180 or $220 for three months, respectively, to $720 or $880 for a year, respectively. American bitter liqueurs, such as Grand Poppy ($33 a 750-ml. bottle) and Breckenridge bitters ($40), also do well online. The Brooklyn shop, which is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. and Fridays to Saturdays from 1 to 8 p.m., hosts tastings every other week.

Milwaukee Store Unveils Growler Gallery

Ray’s Wine & Spirits in Milwaukee added a new beer component to its tasting room and education center in June. Featuring six rotating tap lines, Ray’s Growler Gallery emphasizes the outlet’s increased emphasis on craft brews and imports, which comprise 80 percent to 85 percent of the store’s 1,000 beer SKUs. Prices range from $2.99 a 22-ounce bomber of Thumper American IPA from Wisconsin’s Rhinelander Brewing Co. to $44.99 a 750-ml. bottle of Scaldis Prestige from Belgium. The store’s top-selling beer is New Glarus Brewing Co.’s Spotted Cow farmhouse ale ($7.99 a six-pack), which is produced in New Glarus, Wisconsin. The Growler Gallery’s draft selections highlight exclusive and specialty Wisconsin-made brews, such as Karben4 Brewery’s Fantasy Factory IPA ($7 a 32-ounce growler) and Potosi Brewing Co.’s Fiddler oatmeal stout ($38 a 64-ounce growler). Empty 32-ounce or 64-ounce growlers retail for $5, while a 1-liter flip-top cobalt blue growler is priced at $12 and the 2-liter flip-top growler is $30. Up to three free 1-ounce samples are available for tasting before purchasing a growler of beer. Ray’s also carries 8,000 wine SKUs ($4.99 a 750-ml. bottle of Woodbridge to $849 for Penfolds Grange) and 2,000 spirits SKUs ($7.99 a 750-ml. bottle of Wall Street whiskey to $999 for The Macallan 25-year-old single malt Scotch or $2,799 for Louis XIII de Rémy Martin Cognac). Owner Rick Laev, who purchased the store in 2002, currently has plans for expansion in Milwaukee, as well as Madison and Chicago.

Sommelier Ian Cauble Debuts Retail Website, an online retailer that highlights one wine per day five to six times a week, launched in May. The offerings are selected by master sommelier Ian Cauble, who starred in the 2012 documentary “Somm,” and focus on small-production wines from regions around the world, such as Burgundy, the Rhône Valley, the Loire Valley, Piedmont, Champagne, South Africa, Austria, Argentina and California. Prices range from $12 to $200 a 750-ml. bottle, though most selections sell for around $30. Recent offerings included the 2012 Señorío de P. Peciña Joven ($13) from Rioja and the 2010 Jean-Marc Roulot Meursault Premier Cru ($180) from Burgundy. The website is currently in beta and is expected to officially launch in three to six months. A blind tasting wine club named “SommSix” will also debut this summer for $150 to $175 a month and include three white wines and three red wines, wrapped in black paper, with in-depth tasting notes written by Cauble. The company is also planning a wine bar concept called SommBar in a city to be determined for 2015.