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Bella Vista Beer Distributors

Not Rated.
Bella Vista Beer DistributorsBella Vista Beer Distributors
BA SCORE
96
world-class

38 Ratings
Ratings: 38
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.7%
[ Store ]

755 S 11th St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19147-2613
United States
phone: (215) 627-6465

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-12-2007)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 38 | Reviews: 30 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of woodychandler
5/5  rDev +14.4%

Transcribed from notes dated T, 10 August 2010.

I was on a mission on this day. I had received a trade request for Sly Fox CANs and I was getting ready to head to Madison, WI that Thursday so I needed to reload and ship mos' quick. I had a list of all Beer Stores on BA Beer Fly at the time and I decided to visit as many of the ones that offered singles and sixers as I could, taking notes at each one.

I had been in here a few times before, usually to give Jordan Fetzfatzes (the owner) a good-natured bad time. We go 'way back with me having poured for him at numerous PHL beer festivals, especially down at the former Naval Shipyard when I would show up in my dress blue uniform. Today, I wanted to really look around and take some notes.

Located at 11th and Catherine Streets, it is an extensive building starting at the corner and progressing north. I rarely feel compelled to buy a case, but I always like window shopping at the distributors. This place looked like some of the better-run warehouses that I had encountered as a Navy Storkeeper (SK) logistician. Metal racks and shelves were meticulously laid out and organIzed by region of origin. Wow! There were coolers all of the way aft on the left-facing side of the space for selected cold cases. I was most intrigued and inspired by the selection of 5L mini-kegs which qualify as CANs on this site. They have become my new focus on The CANQuest (TM) and on a subsequent visit, I procured one of Bell's Best Brown Ale. Now, if I could just lay hands on a HopSlam ... Singles? Some Belgians to the immediate right of the entry including jeroboams of Chimay Bleu.

The checkout counter was laden with free newspapers, magazines and giveaways along with snacks and cigars for sale. Let's see, beer, snacks and cigars - all that was missing were the women of low moral values and some games of chance and I could have gotten in my vice fix for the day. Hee hee. Also, The Beer Exchange Program exists at the counter for CANs of room-temperature beer that you bring in to exchange for whatever is in the basket at that time. I am told that gems occasionally surface in there.

woodychandler, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.08/5  rDev -6.6%

The famous Bella Vista Beer Distributors!

A beer-case paradise, with 13 aisles of all things beer divided by regions. They have a bit of everything, from the rarer names like Lost Abbey, Duck Rabbit and Russian River to locals like Weyerbacher (I so wanted that case of Double Simcoe!!) and Victory, plus Dogfish, Stone and all the big names in the craft world.

If you have the money to blow in, let's say, a $215-plus-tax case of Lost Abbey Deliverance, by all means do so! But there is also cheaper stuff, I remember buying a case of Dogfish 90 for around $40 a couple of years ago.

Service is nice, although I only saw the guy at the checkout register and not a "beer guy" cruising the aisles, but he was nice and helpful and had no problem explaining the infamous Pennsylvania case law. I'm sure he answers questions about it every other day!

If you have a car and money, come here and stock up. Then walk to Hawthornes for some singles and a growler.

DoubleSimcoe, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%

Bella Vista has certainly come a long way since I first visited them, and the new building just across the street from where they used to be is the icing on the cake. They've continued to grow their selection along with the microbrew market, and although I've tasted and reviewed thousands of beers in my day they've actually got some things that I've missed. The service is good and the prices are normal. It used to be that I would be in this part of town I would go to another big distributor (that will go unamed), now I go to Bella Vista.

NeroFiddled, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of sholland119
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%

This is a great place to stop for beer if you live near here and worth the journey if you don't. I had been meaning to stop in and a business meeting at the Linc gave me the opportunity.

BV is located in an old warehouse in the, um, Bella Vista section of Philly, a few blocks south of downtown, and a few blocks north of South Philly. It's a working warehouse, filled front to back and floor to ceiling with beer. I had to move out of the way of a forklift two or three times on my visit on a busy Friday.

There is a great selection of craft beers, including a wide variety of PA brewers and some craft beers that BV is the master distributor for.

What really sets the place apart from others is the service. Jordan is very friendly, knowledgeable and fun to talk beer with. Even though the place was jumping, he was happy to put aside a half hour to chat and show off the place. The commitment to customer service among all the staff is very high.

Prices seemed very reasonable, too.

HV

sholland119, Apr 12, 2008
Photo of InspectorBob
4.5/5  rDev +3%

InspectorBob, Feb 26, 2014
Photo of Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev -11.2%

Bella Vista is a great supplier in the Philly area, and you have to give them a lot of credit. They keep the good craft beer flowing, and help bring the rarities in for events like Philly Beer Week.

The actual retail store is located at 11th & Fitzwater, an easy walk from South Street, and just across the street from Hawthorne's. Not much to say in the way of atmosphere, as it's pretty much just a warehouse, but things are set up nice and neat and in a generally organized fashion. Service is fine and prices are reasonable. Beer selection is just fine, however, seeing how this is PA with our ridiculous archaic alcohol laws, it's still cases only here. So you really have to want what you're drinking, because you're dedicating yourself to a whole case of it if you buy here. They also keep a nice selection of glassware, with typical pints going for around $3. I picked up a Dark Horse and a Cigar City pint during a visit here once.

So basically, if you want a case of Dogfish Head or Troegs or Founders, this place is fine. If you're jonesing for a bomber or a mix-n-match 6-pack, look elsewhere...like Hawthorne's for example.

Rifugium, Jun 10, 2012
Photo of seanchai
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

seanchai, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of papat444
4.28/5  rDev -2.1%

Came to Philly for a quick day trip to get some Geno's and go visit Rocky! Decided to peek in here.

This is strictly a beer warehouse but what selection they have! Everything from the U.S. (craft-wise) is separated by region. Arcadia, Alesmith, Caldera, Cigar City, Dark Horse, Duck-Rabbit, Elysian, Lost Abbey and countless others. The racks seem to go on forever. The only catch is that everything is sold by the case, even bombers and 750mls. I didn't buy anything because my budget didn't allow it but i sure was drooling at the possibilities. Come here if you have money, it'll be worth it.

papat444, May 28, 2011
Photo of Deuane
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%

Bella Vista is one of THE must beer distributors not only in Philadelphia but in PA. A major player in the import distribution field the folks at BV are on top of their game. Jordan and company are always striving to bring in new, quality, interesting and innovative breweries into PA.

I have ALWAYS received great service from the staff. Always with a, can I help you and have you tried this or maybe you would be interested in that.

They carry just about everything they can. So, while not perfect, as no one distributor in PA can, BV is about as close as you can get.

With the year old new digs, just across the street from the dirty, run down old place, the atmosphere of the shop is a HUGE step above what you use to encounter.

Deuane, Oct 12, 2009
Photo of corby112
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%

This is the best beer distributor in Philadelphia, especially since they moved across the street into the newer bigger building.

The selection is incomparable, carrying an incredible amount of American craft as well as a huge selection of imports. Once you walk in there is a whole section of the store on the right hand side that is exclusively dedicated to Belgian beers. They frequently get in beers that I don't see anywhere else.

The folks here are responsible for getting a lot of excellent rare beers, especially from the west coast, into the Philadelphia are market. Jordan does a hell of a job bringing these brands in and in the last year or so has stepped it up by landing all kinds of amazing beers.

The service is always very friendly and knowledgeable. Every time I'm in there it seems like I spend more time talking about beer than actually shopping for it. I highly recommend this place to anyone looking for rare cases in the Philly area.

corby112, Oct 15, 2009
Photo of orangesol
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%

I stopped in here earlier today after the Monk's - Cantillon event.

Upon entering I realized that this is not a small place. Lots of aisles filled with all kinds of beers from all over the world. Most of the beers were clearly labeled with the info and prices but some didn't have either. As far as the service goes, I didn't see a single employee the entire time I was inside the store. It wasn't until I was leaving that someone finally came out of their office to help a fellow customer who had been waiting at the register for quite some time before they even noticed him.

The quality was very good. Most of the cases I was interested in where pretty fresh and reasonably priced. They also had some pretty cool glasses up at the register. While the quality was good, the selection was great. From cases of Russian River, Founders, and Bells to cases of belgians like Rochefort 10 and Saison Dupont, you would be hard pressed to find a better selection of cases.

Overall they have one of the best selections of case beer I have seen but the service can be a bit hit or miss it seems. I will return in the future.

orangesol, Aug 09, 2011
Photo of claspada
3.54/5  rDev -19%

Warehouse atmpsphere. Isles and isles of cases of craft and macro beer on the shelves. The front section has a small area for the current "seasonals" also in cases as well.

The quality is a as good as can be expected. Numerous brands and some decent rarities. I saw a case of Tilquin Gueuze, Stone Imperial Mint Chocolate Stout and various beers I can normally not find in Jersey like Great Lakes and Bells regular and seasonal release.

Service was non-exisitent. Guy sat at the counter and I could tell he had no idea what was up. Did let me friend use the bathroom which was nice I guess.

Prices were super super reasonable and a great value. Only problem is that you need to buy a case which is hard when you are visiting the area and are traveling via foot, cab or mass transit. Worth a stop if you have a vehicle but dont mock yourself and go without means of carrying one or multiple cases of beer.

claspada, Dec 03, 2012
Photo of mltobin
3.23/5  rDev -26.1%

A fairly convenient location, which is not very far from center city. As some of you may know, since this is a distributor, if you buy beer here, its going to be a case. That in itself, is a big turn-off to me, but that is the Pennsylvania law. Selection is good, including Great Lakes, Stone, Anchor, Sly Fox, Brooklyn and many more. Their prices are really up there however, for most people a case here is going to be cutting into a good slice of your paycheck. And this was paired with non-existent customer service. From the truck drivers who nearly collide with you while rolling dollies to the cashiers who do not even say hello when you walk in or leave. But, if you got the $, its worth picking up a couple cases.

mltobin, May 13, 2012
Photo of Seanibus
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%

Given the stupidity of Pennsylvania's beer laws (case-only at beer distributors, with sixpacks and singles available only at bars and restaurants at shockingly inflated prices), Bella Vista is as good as it gets in Philadelphia for beer fans.

The new store, opened in 2008, is huge, bright, and friendly. The selection is simply the best in the city, with an astonishing collection of cases, including cases of 22 oz bottles of unusual beers, such as Stone's Oaked Arrogant Bastard and Avery's limited Ale to the Chief (expect to pay a LOT for these cases, but at least they are available). The 12 ounce cases include almost everything you can get in this part of Pennsylvania, from the macro stuff, to all the locals, to national winners like Bells and North Coast. A nice selection of imports, including Belgians (again, if you have to ask how much it costs, you shouldn't be buying - but at least they have it available).

Except for the exotic imports and the Bomber cases, the prices are competitive with other distributors in the city.

The store also includes a nice selection of beer accessories, including fun beer glasses, and the standard non-alcoholic beverage selection.

The staff is friendly and loves to talk beer.

Parking, which is never a minor issue in this part of town, is plentiful and convenient.

Seanibus, Jan 29, 2009
Photo of hoppymcgee
4/5  rDev -8.5%

hoppymcgee, Jan 14, 2014
Photo of TheFightfan1
4.74/5  rDev +8.5%

So this is the great bella vista I've heard so much about. I was hyped and this place didn't disappoint. Although it was extremely hot in there (I guess no air conditioner) I decided to start my search. All of the beer is seperated by region. The California and west coast aisle is all the way to the left. That is what I came here for. The local section was stacked with some goodies.The other aisle's I didn't venture too. Although the west coast was stacked I didn't have alot of money to spend so I ended up getting a case of Jai Alai for $38. The other thing that got me was how clean this place was. I've gone into alot beer distributors but I can't remember one not having at least a spec of dirt,or piece of cardboard lying around. Very well kept. The atmospshere was uncomfortable do to the the excessive heat and it did seem to have an effect on the employees. Other than that this is a beer mecca.

TheFightfan1, Jul 24, 2011
Photo of soulcougher
4.5/5  rDev +3%

soulcougher, Jun 03, 2014
Photo of IdrinkGas
4.36/5  rDev -0.2%

This place is a huge warehouse type distributor. They carry Cigar City, Russian River, Ballast Point, Lost Abbey, and most other highly sought after breweries that distribute to Pennsylvania. Prices are decent. They had cases of month old Jai Alai for $35 which I thought was a steal. They also sell tons of other beverages and some glassware. They also had a pretty big section in the front which was devoted to pumpkin beer. Probably like 30+ different breweries. Spent a long time in the place walking down every aisle two times because I didn't want to miss anything.

The best case distributor in Philadelphia.

IdrinkGas, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of bigred89
4.5/5  rDev +3%

bigred89, Aug 24, 2014
Photo of mvanaskie13
4.5/5  rDev +3%

This is another good place in south/center city philly that seems to get better and better each time I stop in. A nice large open warehouse greets patrons. Setup is easy to navigate and employees are very helpful. Not sure of the beer knowledge as I am usually looking to pick up something particular, but very friendly. The selection is the standard local PA brews, with a great national craft selection as well. Always well stocked with interesting beers and have been there on more than one occasion when there is a tasting. The prices seem a little bit ($1-2/case) more than other local stores (society hill and bell's beverage) but thats probably because they are the closest stop to center city.

Overall, a great setup, nice service and good selection, but the prices seemed a bit high.

mvanaskie13, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of erosier
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%

Walk in and it is very inviting. The place is clean, very well organized, and has a much higher selection of crafts than I was expecting. There was Russian River, Avery, Flying Fish, Dark horse, a whole lot of stuff that I didn't think I would be able to find. Kind of an overwhelming selection because you gotta buy a case of whatever it is, but really good. I could spend an entire afternoon in this place.
The quality was good and the prices seemed fair. Everything was divided by region so the local stuff had a large selection which I liked and also inevitably gives the consumer a small education where everything is from. I've been to places where people don't know where something is from and they just call it an import which drives me nuts. The selection seemed good and it looked like a good place to go, I would go back the next time I am in the area looking for a case of craft beer. The service was good, they have carts out for those looking for more than a few cases (like myself).
If you're in the area, try this place out.

erosier, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of Soonami
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%

Pretty reasonable prices for the city. The cases are kept pretty cold, they have a great selection of west coast and import beers. Last time there I saw cases of RR and Lost Abbey corked and caged bottles. Ballast Point, Founders, Bells, and Allagash were also well represented. They have a great selection, but the only catch is that since this is a Philly beer distributor, you have to buy a case of everything. I love Brandy Barrell Angel's Share, but I can't fathom spending about $200 for a case of it. This is not the fault of the store, but archaic PA liquor control board laws.

Great place to look around and buy something you know you'll love for a great price, but you definitely cannot buy a single or bomber to try. So I would recommend Bella Vista to the educated buyer that knows what they want or for small groups of people to split cases, but otherwise it's not the best store for many people.

Soonami, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of timtim
4.5/5  rDev +3%

I've bought a lot of beer here, and not only has all of it been stuff I was dying to get, it has all been in fantastic shape and very reasonably priced. Best beer distributor in Philly, hands down. The ONLY place i know of on the east coast to buy things i don't even want to mention for fear of other bas catching on... you have to buy a case at a time, but you will get the bottles for much less than what they are on the shelf. Awesome. If you're in Philly and you don't stop by, you are missing out.

timtim, Jun 30, 2010
Photo of Treyliff
4.14/5  rDev -5.3%

Ran by here while in town. The building itself is a warehouse so there's plenty of room to move around, and it's cold inside, so bring a jacket. Beer is sorted by style and country. Service was good, a man greeted us as we walked in an explained the layout of the store. He checked on us later to make sure we didn't have any questions. Selection was ok, half of the shelves were empty and I didn't find the case of Dirt Wolf I was looking for, I did however walk out with a case of Jai Alai for $40. Prices were pretty good, but you have to buy everything in quantities of 24. Overall, this is worth checking out if you don't mind buying by the case.

Treyliff, Apr 09, 2014
Photo of rikatine
3.88/5  rDev -11.2%

This is now our go to place when traveling down from NY for a weekend in Philly. We have been here twice now and it is easy to stop here first before checking into our Center City hotel.

Service was fine. Check out easy. Parking is on the street and we parked right out front both times.

The selection has so far been exactly what we are looking for. Bell's, Port Brewing, Coronado, and Half Acre. They also had Russian River and tons of other stuff. Yes, it is buy the case, but we can't get this stuff in NY.

Head over to Hawthornes after for lunch.

rikatine, May 09, 2013
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Bella Vista Beer Distributors in Philadelphia, PA
96 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.