Shop Window: November 2014

A new Total Wine hits Minnesota, North Carolina debuts an updated WineStyles, and Alaska's Brown Jug shows off a remodel.

Total Wine Opens Second Minnesota Store

Minnesota’s second Total Wine & More location opened in Burnsville in September, marking the chain’s 106th unit. Cofounder and president David Trone was on hand at the ribbon cutting, alongside Burnsville mayor Elizabeth Kautz and city council members. Like other Total Wine units, the new store offers a staggering selection of wines with over 8,000 SKUs, as well as 3,000-plus spirits SKUs and more than 2,500 beer SKUs. In addition to beverage alcohol, the Burnsville unit sells glassware, gifts and cigars and will host in-store tastings on Fridays and Saturdays. The store also features Total Wine’s classroom-sized Wine Education Center, where customers can taste and learn about beer, wine and spirits using interactive digital technologies. Following the company’s emphasis on forming strong relationships with local community groups, the Burnsville Wine Education Center is available for use by organizations seeking meeting space or custom tastings. Total Wine & More is currently in the midst of an ambitious expansion schedule, aiming to open 12 to 13 new units annually in states such as Washington, Texas and California over the next several years. “From a customer standpoint, Minnesota is an underserved market, and we continue to look at further opportunities to bring what the customers want—great prices, outstanding service, phenomenal selection and a customer experience that’s second-to-none,” says vice president of public affairs and community relations Edward Cooper.

WineStyles Tasting Station in Greensboro, North Carolina, offers a wide choice of wines and craft beers that customers can purchase to take home or enjoy at the store’s bar and café.
WineStyles Tasting Station in Greensboro, North Carolina, offers a wide choice of wines and craft beers that customers can purchase to take home or enjoy at the store’s bar and café. (Photo by WineStyles Tasting Station)

North Carolina WineStyles Rebrands

The Greensboro, North Carolina, location of national wine boutique chain WineStyles Tasting Station celebrated its grand reopening in September—one of several WineStyles Tasting Stations to re-brand in the last few months as the company undergoes a franchising expansion push. Hospitality industry veterans Michael and Tiffany Reynolds, who took over the Greensboro location in June, relaunched the store with expanded offerings, including gourmet chocolate, cheese and custom gift baskets. A new café-style menu offers light bites for customers to enjoy alongside wine or draft beer from the tasting bar. The unit has about 300 wine SKUs, ranging from $10 a 750-ml. bottle as part of the popular “Six for $60” deal up to $75 or more for high-end brands, such as Caymus. WineStyles organizes its wine by taste, rather than region or varietal, directing customers to sections like “Crisp” and “Bold” based on their preferences. A selection of 75 beer SKUs starts at $3 for a bottle of Greensboro craft favorite Natty Greene’s and tops out at $14 for a 750-ml. bottle of locally-produced McRitchie cider. The store hosts weekly tastings and also has several clubs offering exclusive or allocated wines or craft beers monthly, along with discounts and access to special events.

Renovated Brown Jug In Alaska Reopens

A newly remodeled Brown Jug Friendly Spirits outlet—closed since last year—opened in Wasilla, Alaska, in late August. At 3,000 square feet, the store features an updated design aimed at increased convenience, with daily opening hours from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. The unit features a walk-in cooler stocked with beer and wine, as well as a wide range of spirits. It also has a growler bar with 20-plus taps offering local and craft beers. Customers can buy a growler on-site or bring their own to fill up ($5 to $20 to fill a 64-ounce growler), and staff will conduct weekly beer tastings. Brown Jug’s parent company, Alberta, Canada-based Liquor Stores N.A., has seen success in Alaska recently, with its first superstore in Fairbanks doing especially well. The company plans to continue expanding in the state, as well as in its other markets throughout Canada and the United States.