Shop Window: June 2015

A New York City Market Watch Leader moves house, local brews dominate in Jacksonville, Florida, and Pennsylvania highlights in-state distilleries.

New York City retailer Park Avenue Liquor moved down the street from its previous home of 40 years. The store’s vast whisk(e)y collection now occupies a dedicated wall.
New York City retailer Park Avenue Liquor moved down the street from its previous home of 40 years. The store’s vast whisk(e)y collection now occupies a dedicated wall.

Manhattan Stalwart Relocates

New York City retailer Park Avenue Liquor relocated this past spring—the second move in 40 years under owner, president and Market Watch Leader Michael Goldstein. About a block down Madison Avenue from its former home, the new location has tripled its retail floor space to 3,150 square feet and has a 5,000-square-foot storage basement, including a state-of-the-art cave for the store’s fine wine collection. Known for its expansive Scotch whisky selection, Park Avenue Liquor features a whisk(e)y wall that stretches nearly the full height of the 18-foot ceiling. Whereas the former location had a limited display area, the larger space allows for more items on the floor, and vice president and co-owner Eric Goldstein anticipates increasing the store’s inventory of 4,300 wine and spirits SKUs. Park Avenue Liquor’s wine selection ranges from value labels like Mondavi Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon ($7.50 a 750-ml. bottle) to such rare vintages as the 1945 Château Mouton Rothschild ($19,500). The store’s spirits selection is dominated by whiskies, which include Speyburn Bradan Orach single malt Scotch ($25 a 750-ml. bottle) and a 62-year-old Macallan in a Lalique decanter ($37,000). The added floor space allows for a dedicated tasting area and large display windows. “We’ve always prided ourselves on being approachable, and we wanted that to translate into the design,” Eric Goldstein says. “We’re getting positive feedback from all our customers.” He notes that the move came about thanks to his father’s forward thinking. “For 40 years, he was reluctant to update the look of the store because he never wanted to close the door,” Eric Goldstein explains. “But he really hopes to further the store’s legacy. He very much wants Park Avenue Liquor to continue forward and to get even better.”

Florida Bottle Shop Touts Beer

Kelly Pickard and Jamie Burket opened Alewife, a craft beer bottle shop and tasting room, in March in Jacksonville, Florida. The pair worked with local architecture and design firm OAD to create a space “where people want to spend time and stay for a drink,” Pickard says. Shipping containers house the shop’s walk-in cooler and draft system, and booths are made of repurposed pallets. Alewife offers 250 beer and cider SKUs, focusing on single bottles ($1.80 to $4 a 12-ounce bottle; $6 to $35 a 22-ounce or 750-ml. bottle) and build-your-own six-packs. “We want to make it easy to try different styles,” Pickard explains. Stock rotates frequently to ensure freshness, and popular brands include such Jacksonville producers as Veterans United Craft Brewery, Intuition Ale Works and Bold City Brewery. Alewife also has six taps that highlight draft-only beers ($2 to $7 a 5-ounce to 16-ounce pour), including Florida offerings like Swamp Head Cottonmouth Belgian-style witbier, Wynwood Rickenbacker Pils and Cigar City hard cider, and it also sells 32-ounce growlers ($8 to $10). The shop will host a variety of classes about craft beer, and Pickard notes that education is a key component of the business. “It seems that the growth and availability of craft beer is outpacing understanding of it,” she says. “We want to help people develop the knowledge they need to navigate beer menus and styles.”

PLCB To Feature Local Spirits

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) launched an initiative to highlight locally produced spirits in May. Based on the agency’s successful “PA Preferred Wine Program,” the “PA Spirits Program” invites in-state distilleries to place up to 10 products in up to 10 Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores of their choice. Although distilleries are permitted to sell spirits from their tasting rooms, the initiative aims to broaden their reach to consumers in other parts of Pennsylvania and could result in statewide distribution. “If a product does really well, the distillery may want to go through the regular listing process,” says the PLCB’s director of external affairs Stacy Kriedeman. “If it’s selected, the product could be sold in many or all of our stores. This program is a starting point for smaller distillers.” The PLCB requires that all spirits submitted be made or rectified in the state and intends to highlight them in a “Made in Pennsylvania” section—a current feature of recently rebranded stores that will eventually roll out to all Fine Wine & Good Spirits locations.