Shop Window: May 2015

An Arkansas retailer gets bigger, an Oregon bottle shop features small-production wines and a new NHLC superstore opens.

Sodie’s Wine & Spirits brings a huge selection of spirits, wine and beer  to Fort Smith, Arkansas, and offers on-site sampling.
Sodie’s Wine & Spirits brings a huge selection of spirits, wine and beer to Fort Smith, Arkansas, and offers on-site sampling. (Photo by Sarah Brownfield)

Arkansas Retailer Rebrands In Larger Space

Fort Smith, Arkansas–based Sodie’s Wine & Spirits relaunched as a “beverage alcohol destination” in a new location in March. The 10,000-square-foot building centers on a tasting area that features an eight-tap growler bar and two four-tap Enomatic wine dispensers. “It’s the heartbeat of the store,” says owner Scott Clark, adding that Sodie’s maximizes its floor space by incorporating vertical stacks atop gondola shelving. Sodie’s currently offers more than 1,050 beer SKUs, from Rolling Rock ($1.19 a 25-ounce can) to Prairie Bomb! Imperial stout ($27.47 a four-pack of bottles), with stock increasing weekly. To encourage new product trial, the store allows customers to mix and match individual beer bottles for custom four- and six-packs. Sodie’s also carries over 1,700 wine SKUs, from Tisdale Cabernet Sauvignon ($4.39 a 750-ml. bottle) to the 2010 Joseph Phelps Insignia ($233.29), and includes a section dedicated to Arkansas wineries, such as Wiederkehr Wine Cellars and Post Familie Wines. More than 1,500 spirits SKUs range from Fireball cinnamon-flavored whisky ($1.99 a 100-ml. bottle) to Don Julio Real Tequila ($355.97 a 750-ml. bottle). Sodie’s also boasts a walk-in humidor, a growing selection of gluten-free options and a growler dishwasher, which allows customers to exchange used growlers for sanitized ones each time they refill (growler fills are $2.24 to $23.57). In addition to offering beer and wine samples during regular store hours, Sodie’s hosts tastings of beer, wine and spirits every other weekend. “We want to separate ourselves from the competition,” Clark says. “We want to be a destination—a fun place where people can wander around and taste a few things.”

Oregon Bottle Shop Taps Local Products

Winemaker Shannon Klopfenstein and her husband, Justin Klopfenstein, opened Barrel & Keg in Salem, Oregon, in March. The bottle shop and tasting room offers over 400 craft beer SKUs, ranging from $1.50 a 12-ounce can of Three Creeks Hoodoo Voodoo IPA to $17 for a 750-ml. bottle of Fort George Cavatica stout. It also has more than 100 SKUs of locally made cider, including selections from Wandering Aengus Ciderworks, Atlas Cider Co. and 2 Towns Ciderhouse. Barrel & Keg’s 350 wine SKUs focus on the West Coast and range from Hillsboro, Oregon’s Oak Knoll Niagara ($8 a 750-ml. bottle) to the Napa Valley’s Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon ($168). The shop also serves as a sales outlet for small wine labels, including Shannon Klopfenstein’s 200-case Lush Wine Co. “A big part of why we started this business is because I needed a way to sell my wine,” she explains. Lush wines are also available at the tasting bar, which offers 23 tap wine options that rotate weekly, 10 draft beers, two draft ciders and a non-alcoholic option. Customers can fill 32-ounce wine growlers ($25 to $30), as well as 32-ounce and 64-ounce beer growlers ($7 to $14), and each week a local wine, beer or cider producer is featured on tap. Food trucks behind the shop offer meal options, and Barrel & Keg also sells local cheeses and other specialty food items.

NHLC Outlet Boasts Convenient Location

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) opened a new Liquor & Wine Outlet in the recently constructed Londonderry Travel Plaza off Interstate 93 in March. The 9,000-square-foot store incorporates many of the NHLC’s latest features, including wider aisles, televisions highlighting promotions and special deals, and improved energy efficiency. The Londonderry unit has over 1,150 wine SKUs ranging from $4.99 a 750-ml. bottle of Glen Ellen Chardonnay to $145.99 for Dom Pérignon Champagne, and its 1,200-plus spirits SKUs include Zhenka vodka ($5.29 a 750-ml. bottle) and Grand Marnier Cuvée 1880 liqueur ($349.99). In addition, the store offers mixers, gourmet snacks, corkscrews and gift bags and will host two to three weekly tastings. The Londonderry unit is located near the Manchester-Boston regional airport, with 100,000 vehicles passing the Travel Plaza daily. It opens as the latest in a flurry of NHLC updates, with 17 units renovated since 2012 and more scheduled.