Bella Vista Beer Distributors
Ratings: 37 | Reviews: 30 | Display Reviews Only:
5/5 rDev +14.2%
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
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.
01-22-2011 13:10:48 | More by woodychandler
4.08/5 rDev -6.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | $$
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.
02-16-2012 00:17:07 | More by DoubleSimcoe
4.35/5 rDev -0.7%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Bella Vista has certainly come a long way since I first visited them, and the new building just across the street from where they used to be is the icing on the cake. They've continued to grow their selection along with the microbrew market, and although I've tasted and reviewed thousands of beers in my day they've actually got some things that I've missed. The service is good and the prices are normal. It used to be that I would be in this part of town I would go to another big distributor (that will go unamed), now I go to Bella Vista.
11-14-2008 18:52:59 | More by NeroFiddled
4.65/5 rDev +6.2%
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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.
04-12-2008 20:21:52 | More by sholland119
3.88/5 rDev -11.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Bella Vista is a great supplier in the Philly area, and you have to give them a lot of credit. They keep the good craft beer flowing, and help bring the rarities in for events like Philly Beer Week.
The actual retail store is located at 11th & Fitzwater, an easy walk from South Street, and just across the street from Hawthorne's. Not much to say in the way of atmosphere, as it's pretty much just a warehouse, but things are set up nice and neat and in a generally organized fashion. Service is fine and prices are reasonable. Beer selection is just fine, however, seeing how this is PA with our ridiculous archaic alcohol laws, it's still cases only here. So you really have to want what you're drinking, because you're dedicating yourself to a whole case of it if you buy here. They also keep a nice selection of glassware, with typical pints going for around $3. I picked up a Dark Horse and a Cigar City pint during a visit here once.
So basically, if you want a case of Dogfish Head or Troegs or Founders, this place is fine. If you're jonesing for a bomber or a mix-n-match 6-pack, look elsewhere...like Hawthorne's for example.
06-10-2012 08:55:14 | More by Rifugium
4.65/5 rDev +6.2%
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
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.
10-12-2009 11:37:47 | More by Deuane
4.65/5 rDev +6.2%
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
This is the best beer distributor in Philadelphia, especially since they moved across the street into the newer bigger building.
The selection is incomparable, carrying an incredible amount of American craft as well as a huge selection of imports. Once you walk in there is a whole section of the store on the right hand side that is exclusively dedicated to Belgian beers. They frequently get in beers that I don't see anywhere else.
The folks here are responsible for getting a lot of excellent rare beers, especially from the west coast, into the Philadelphia are market. Jordan does a hell of a job bringing these brands in and in the last year or so has stepped it up by landing all kinds of amazing beers.
The service is always very friendly and knowledgeable. Every time I'm in there it seems like I spend more time talking about beer than actually shopping for it. I highly recommend this place to anyone looking for rare cases in the Philly area.
10-15-2009 10:03:30 | More by corby112
4.28/5 rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$$$
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.
05-28-2011 18:58:24 | More by papat444
Bella Vista Beer Distributors in Philadelphia, PA
96 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.