Shop Window: September 2014

New designs debut at BevMo in San Francisco and a Virginia ABC store, while Chicago welcomes craft beer bar and shop Beermiscuous.

The 154-unit BevMo retail chain debuted a newly remodeled San Francisco flagship store in July featuring the “Next Generation” layout and a beer tasting area.
The 154-unit BevMo retail chain debuted a newly remodeled San Francisco flagship store in July featuring the “Next Generation” layout and a beer tasting area.

BevMo Launches San Franciso Flagship

Concord, California-based retail chain Beverages & More! (BevMo) remodeled its Van Ness Avenue store in San Francisco and unveiled the location as the city’s new flagship in July. The 20,000-square-foot store doubled its previous size by taking over the neighboring retail space and knocking down the adjoining wall. The unit has been completely redesigned to feature the “Next Generation” BevMo layout, which the company has been rolling out to new and existing locations since June 2012. “The store is great from a sales perspective, and we wanted to have a big flagship that really represents the best of the best,” explains chief marketing officer Francesca Schuler.

BevMo doesn’t provide prices, but the Van Ness location stocks 2,100 wine SKUs, 2,000 beer SKUs and 1,700 spirits SKUs. The renovated unit features a wine tasting room for hosting signature events that’s larger than the tasting rooms in other stores, as well as a temperature-controlled walk-in wine vault. The San Francisco flagship also includes a beer tasting area called Room 22 that highlights local craft brews and has an entire wall dedicated to 22-ounce bottles. “Craft beer is such a hot category, and we have passionate craft beer consumers,” Schuler says. Spirits are another focus for the Van Ness unit, which emphasizes unique, super-premium items that aren’t available anywhere else. “This location will probably have the best selection of spirits in the chain,” Schuler notes. In addition to the new San Francisco flagship, BevMo has recently opened units in Culver City, Sacramento and Vista, California, for a total of 154 stores in California, Arizona and Washington. More than 40 locations now feature the new look and feel, and the company is currently working on a rollout plan for its next wave of remodels.

Virginia ABC Unveils New Premier Store

The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) debuted a new 4,576-square-foot store in Leesburg that uses the ABC’s premier design concept. The layout includes state-of-the-art LED lighting, varying ceiling heights and a winding center aisle that encourages customer discovery. The store’s vestibule features a metal chandelier created by Richmond artist Robert Chase of Chase Architectural Metal that is suspended over a round tasting bar where vendors can offer up to three -ounce samples of distilled spirits or up to 5 ounces of wine. Nearly a third larger than the average Virginia ABC outlet, the Leesburg location carries 1,482 spirits items, 37 non-alcoholic mixers and 31 wines (ABC stores don’t sell beer or malt beverages). Spirits prices range from $4.50 a 750-ml. bottle of Aristocrat triple sec to $229.95 for Johnnie Walker Blue Label, while wines start at $6.85 for the locally produced Horton Vineyards Route 33 Red and go up to $26.10 for the Trump Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine, which is also made in Virginia. The Virginia ABC, which operates 349 state stores, plans to remodel additional outlets using the premier concept as leases expire and the market allows. The next unit to be redesigned is the location at 1612 Laskin Road in Virginia Beach.

Chicago Beer Shop And Café Opens

Self-described “serial entrepreneur” Paul Leamon founded Beermiscuous in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood in July. “My mission was to create a coffee shop-like atmosphere dedicated to a wide selection of craft beer,” Leamon says. “I want customers to spend time in the café to explore different styles or brewers and then select their favorites in a mix-six fashion to go.” The store-bar hybrid stocks roughly 300 beers by the bottle or can, as well as 12 brews on tap. Craft beer comprises 80 percent of the offerings, while imports account for the remaining 20 percent. Prices range from $1.25 a 12-ounce can of Capital Brewery Supper Club lager to $25 a 22-ounce bottle of Deschutes Mirror Mirror barley wine ale. Drafts are priced between $5 and $9 a pour (only breweries are allowed to sell beer growlers in Illinois). Top-sellers over the summer included warm-weather sessionable beers like wheats and IPAs. In addition to weekly tastings and food pairings, swap meets, Cicerone classes, brewery presentations and home brewer nights, Beermiscuous also offers a free rewards program called Loose Affiliation, through which customers can earn points on purchases to be redeemed for branded products or bottle holds on rare or unusual releases. “The café is dedicated to serving the freshest beer at the right temperature and in the right glassware for a premium user experience,” Leamon says.