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RSVP Discount Beverage & Redemption Center

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BA SCORE
87
very good

51 Ratings
Ratings: 51
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 16.32%
[ Store ]

887 Forest Ave
Portland, Maine, 04103-4107
United States
phone: (207) 773-8808

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Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 51 | Reviews: 41 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gtn80
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%

RSVP is my go to bottle shop in Portland. First the good part. They have a great selection of continental beer, especially German and Belgian. They also have a great selection of craft beer, especially the local and New Englad scene. Most is warm, but they do put a bunch of the bigger micros and cases of micros in the coolers.

The bad is the service and atmosphere. The place is a pretty dumpy warehouse feel. The service is exactly that, serviceable. I usually only interact with the cashiers, and they are adequate. The problem is the staff has no clue about beer, but I don't really care about that. I know what I want going in, but if you like to ask alot of questions, this isn't the place for you.

gtn80, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of twelvsies
4/5  rDev +3.6%

RSVP Liquors, conveniently located just up Forest Ave north of I-295. A pretty standard liquor-mart style store, big-ish, but with a nice selection of beer. A wall of coolers holding six packs, growlers, etc. A good showing of local beers, as with most places in Portland, and also a good deal of variety from around the country, essentially whatever is available here. Solid showing of Belgians as well, and usually a large stock of said items. Where some smaller shops get a case or two of something like Red Race for example, RSVP will have a whole stack. So, if there's something you can't find, it's worth a trip to see if it's in. That being said, there's really not a lot of "geeky" selection here, or at least as far as I can tell. I am only a semi-regular customer, so maybe befriending the beer guy would help, but I have not met this person. The staff I have encountered have been friendly. Big store = low prices, which is good. Definitely a spot to check out in Portland.

twelvsies, Oct 04, 2010
Photo of lou50rp
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Stopped in today 8-7 to but a locally distilled gin, and checked out the beer selection. Found a good selection of locals and out-of-state microbrews. Lot of 12 packs with good prices. When I am in Portland, it will be scheduled stop from now on.
I like the ample parking and easy access. (its only a couple miles from the interstate and not far up the avenue from the Great Lost Bear and Maine Beer Supply) Brewing supplies, packaged beer and lunch with in a mile. Can't beat that.
Staff was friendly, (only encountered at the check-out).
The prices for all my purchases were good (except for the taxes and deposits).

lou50rp, Aug 08, 2010
Photo of smauretti
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%

Stopped in at RSVP on 7/16/10 and 7/24/10 and enjoyed the selection of brews available. I found many beers that are not available back home in Massachusetts. Picked up some Mikkellers, Bar Harbor Cadillac Stout, Maine Beer Company Zoe, Maine Beer Company Peeper's, Stone's 14th Anniversary, Sebago Single Batch as well some other great selections.

Service was good on both occasions and found associates that were knowledgeable about the beer available.

RSVP has a great craft beer selection that was worth the stop on the way through Portland.

Put this one on your list as a must do if in the area.

smauretti, Jul 29, 2010
Photo of mtnbikerpa
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%

I visited this local liquor store while on vacation. I was not to impressed with the staff, they were not very helpful. But there were a number of long isles stocked nicely with craft beers. A lot of Maine beers available, Sea dog, Seabago, Bar Harbor Brewing, Allagash, Atlantic Brewing Company. Also Weyerbacher, Stone, BrewDog, Dogfish head, Flying Dog, Victory and a lot of German Imports. Most seasonals seemed to be fresh. I was able to get a good supply of Cadillac Mountain Stout which is always a favorite of mine when visiting Maine.

mtnbikerpa, Jun 27, 2010
Photo of rrheisler
4/5  rDev +3.6%

RSVP has earned itself a reputation of having a pretty brutal service staff, as it took almost four months of me going there as a customer before actually getting a greeting out of anybody before hitting the registers. However, they have a really strong selection of local, national, and international brews. Lots of options that you can't find anywhere else, especially on the imported side of things.

However, over the last month and a half, they have really stepped up their service game; more employees who really know what they are talking about. Talked quite a bit with Bill, the beer guy, and through a long conversation with him was able to procure a bottle of Black Ops. Really good guy, knows what he's talking about, and will be the first to point out the good and the bad of the craft in his store.

Prices are good, not great, as Downeast Bev and Oak Hill both beat some prices RSVP has, but RSVP has some that they price lead on. $6.99 is the cheapest I've found locally for Brooklyn's Local series, though.

rrheisler, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of jzeilinger
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

I travel all the time and when I'm in Maine, I have made this location a regular stop of mine. The store is predominantly liquor and wine, but the SMALL beer selection they have (when compared to the rest of the inventory) is very HIGH quality. I'd much rather have a more concentrated selection of high quality brews as opposed to a huge selection of crap. I've found RSVP's prices to be the BEST I've seen in the seven states I travel in. If you stop in, ask for Bill. Bill knows his beer, I love talking to this guy every time I come in because I learn something new every time. How many places can you go and buy DFH 120 at the same or just about the same price as what you would pay for in DE? I rely on Bill to give me recommendations for some new brews I've never tried before - he's been bang on. Business travelers, seek this place out. Locals who have never been here, pull your head out of the sand!!

jzeilinger, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of shaebs99
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%

Hmmm...The rating I gave this place may be a bit low..

Heard of this place on my research into Portland. My intel was on the mark about the 25 year old rule at RSVP. Coming from NY I knew they wouldn't accept my ID (and Portland as a whole is a bit strict with the carding). Luckily my friend is a few months older than me and is 25 years old... YAY!

I got a basket for my beer (only realizing afterward that Ishould have gotten a cart instead). Loaded it up with Maine goodies. Bar harbor (small batch and 12oz available), Spring Peeper, Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin (my GF tried it a few minutes before at Great Lost Bear and wanted some for her self), Clipper City Great Pumpkin (surprised to see it made it this far up), some other NE goodies, and a Rasputing XII. Probably shouldn't have gotten that last one, but who can resist seeing a beer like that for the first time.

My only regret was not getting a Gritty's minikeg

Overall the selection and prices was the best I saw in Portland. They don't compromise on the 25yr old out of state rule so have a backup plan. If you are visiting and are below 25 you may consider visiting Downeast Beverage. Almost all the beers I got at RSVP were here, just a tad more expensive (10% or so).

shaebs99, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of bitterliving
4.65/5  rDev +20.5%

Just got of the phone with these folks, and have to say the time they took looking for items over the phone was more than patient.
Without finding what I was looking for, Chris took my name and # to call me back when it arrives.

Two hours later, he calls back to ask how many they can hold for me, as it is coming in.

I've always had good service and selection when I've visited the store.
The place definitely doesn't shine when it comes to the looks department, but for pretty descent service and some of the best selection around the area (wine too) they seem to be the ticket when I head in that area.

bitterliving, Sep 09, 2009
Photo of jdrouillard
3/5  rDev -22.3%

This was a place that I was really excited to check out. There are great finds there, but the service is poor. They have a absurd rule of not accepting out of state ID's if you're under 25. I tried to suggest a passport, but that too was immediately shot down as well. It was very aggravating, especially when my basket was full of hard to fine beers. Thanks RSVP. If this happens to you, I suggest going down the street to Maine Brewing Supply. The selection is not as large, but it is still great. Plus, Maine Brewing Supply has very great service and are always willing to chat!

jdrouillard, Jul 24, 2009
Photo of berley31
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%

Stopped by on a recent trip to Portland, the day after pubcrawling in the Old Port area to try a bunch of Maine craft beers. I had read about RSVP's service before we went and was a little apprehensive, but all I can say is that they were friendly when we were there... one gentleman in particular even asked how we were making out... twice! The cashier was also very helpful even though we were checking out many singles and the prices weren't coming up. Good beer selection, with lots of Maine beers, which is why we were there, but a very good selection of Belgians as well. Overall I was very pleased with RSVP Liquor.

Update 11/09 - Back for a second trip, selection was still great, and the people waiting on us were extremely helpful and kind.

berley31, Jun 18, 2009
Photo of Jayli
3.55/5  rDev -8%

Stopped in here on a recent trip to Maine. The majority of my trips to Maine have not yielded a liquor store with a decent craft brew presence. RSVP is by and far the best that I have come across. There is only one aisle of beer - BUT, what they do have is a decent representation. Delerium Tremens and Nocturnal, Aecht Schlenkerla, High and Mighty, Dogfish Head, Weyerbacher, Freeport, Sea Dog, Shipyard, Allagash, Rogue, & Stone to name a few. Decent cooler selection, but the real find is down at the end with Growlers. I snagged a growler of Freeports Chocolate Porter that was outstanding. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found at RSVP.

Jayli, Jun 01, 2009
Photo of ToasterChef
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%

I go to RSVP for two reasons; first, it's partnered with a redemption center and I like turning empties into full beers; second, the selection is the best in the area. Today was the first time I wanted a beer that is available in Maine that RSVP didn't have (they were sold out). They have beers that you can't find elsewhere in Portland. The beers are intelligently organized by brewery which makes for easy browsing. The coolers a full of local beers, popular micros (Magic Hat, Harpoon, Sam Adams, etc.) and macros and all of the international beers and other micros are stored upright and warm. There is also a wide selection of wines, liquor, soda and snack food.

Where RSVP is severely lacking is in its customer service. There were two staff members that I interacted with today. One is well known to me as a complete grump and a person to avoid at all costs (more on her later), so the first person I approached was the other employee (I approached her even though her register had a closed sign, I dread the grumpy employee that much). I asked employee #2 if there were any bottles of Cadillac Mtn Stout out back, as there were none of the shelves. She didn't believe me at first and had to go look on the shelves for the beer. While she was scanning the international shelves, I politely showed her where they were supposed to be in the domestic area. She then asked if it was a six pack. I told her it was a 22 oz bottle I was looking for. She then went and looked in the store room, returning a few minutes later empty handed. Her explanation was "I didn't see any," and I had to suggest that I try back later. That was the extent of my interaction with employee #1. She's obviously not the beer person at RSVP. I'll assume that their beer guy was not working that day, but perhaps she just didn't bother offering to put me in touch with him.

Now, the checkout process. The only open register was manned by the grumpy employee. This woman would make the grim reaper look like a fun guy. She never smiles, never says please or thank you, and until today, never suggested I have a nice day. I wasn't to impressed with her lackluster suggestion though. Her delivery is so rote and monotone, it's as if she were reciting the active ingredients of cough medicine. Normally, she just snaps "ID" without looking up at me and informs me of the price of my beers--nothing else. Her demeanor is so off-putting, I dread having to deal with her. But the selection of RSVP is so good, I'll keep going there, and keep hoping that another register is open.

UPDATE 1.29.10
The service at RSVP has gotten much better over the past 6 months. The cashiers are friendlier and there are multiple beer folks who will help you make informed selections. It's vastly improved.

ToasterChef, May 12, 2009
Photo of deltatauhobbit
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Can't believe I've forgotten to review this place.

Certainly one of the best beer locations to buy from if you're in the Portland area, I've been able to get some real gems here, such as 1260 Triple IPA, Black Albert and could have gotten Black Ops if I had wanted to.

One of the better selections around too, guess it helps that they have the room for it too. Place is like a warehouse, while the looks have much to left to desire, it's really what's inside that counts. Parking is kinda hectic since it's on Forest Ave with a good amount of traffic, so be careful.

As a warning, if you are from out of state you have to be older than 25, pretty weird ayuh!

deltatauhobbit, Mar 13, 2009
Photo of cleeze
2.9/5  rDev -24.9%

Just got back from a recent trip to RSVP. STILL like Tully's much better. Now I use to live right down the road and I remembered a better selection.

Price is pretty damn good for maine. 4.50 for an arrogant bastard when i been paying 5 and some change.

I was also pleased to see that had Jolly Pumpkin. I've yet to try one of their brews and yet to see one. Good selection of local brews that I can get any where in maine. Personally I think too much of their cooler space is dedicated to BMC products. More geared for quanity. They do have some gems though. Deffinatly worth a peak

Service wasn't what I'm used to either. Not that friendly kinda rude too

cleeze, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of Pamola
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%

I drop by RSVP every time I head back to Maine to visit the rents. I usually go in with a 60 dollar budget and walk out with a wine box brimming with bombers and 750s, and maybe a couple 6 packs as well. In my opinion this is the best beer store in maine by leaps and bounds. The local selection is exhaustive (most recent maine additions being the shipyard big beers, stone coast 1260, allagash collaboration, geary's wee heavy, and more) and they have an entire aisle devoted to euro singletons from every country on the continent. It's true the service isn't incredible. They have one older guy who knows beer cold. If you can find him, all your questions will be answered.

One of my favorite parts of this store is the gritty's mini kegs. 20 bucks for a little barrel of best bitter always makes me happy.

Check this place out. I have no idea how someone could be disappointed by what they have to offer.

Pamola, Dec 01, 2008
Photo of joepais
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

I was in looking for a special bottle for Secret Santa BIF. I know it was available in the state of Maine but haven't seen for a while. Sure enough it was there, as well as a great selection of Belgians and other imports. A large selection of American craft brews that was available in the state. They had the new Allagash collaboration as well as most of the other local Maine brews. The place was well laid out and the clerks were knowledgeable. The prices on the bottles were reasonable as well. I most defiantly be back when I get to Portland again

joepais, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of ericj551
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%

I only just heard about RSVP on Beer Advocate when I was looking for a retail location to get six Maine Brewers Festival tickets. I was not interested in paying $6 per ticket and we were headed that way anyway so I stopped by. From the outside it looks like an everyday liquor store and even inside I was skeptical until I got into the back where the beer is. There warm section was awesome, it looked like they had almost everything that I know of that is distributed to Maine. They even had some Maine brews that I had not seen at Tulley's, my usual beer store.

Price was another big plus, some bombers were significantly cheaper than I was expecting. The service was mostly MIA, I'm sure I could have gotten questions answered if I had any but it seemed like the only person in the store besides us was the cashier. I will definitely be back, especially when I'm on my way to the Great Lost Bear.

ericj551, Sep 10, 2007
Photo of blackburnrovers
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%

Agree with the previous reviewer. I've lived in Portland for over 12 years and the place has changed for the better over the past couple of years since the new owners arrived. The store used to have bad lighting, a "very used" floor, etc, but things have slowly changed and it is more inviting. For starters, the place is brighter, a new floor has been installed, and racks have been moved making it easier to get around.

More importantly, the beer selection has improved. Sure, you can always get almost every Maine micro produced in bottles, but the import and "out of state" micro selection has greatly expanded. This is due in part to two new distributors in the state carrying out out of state micros and imports.

R.S.V.P. has jumped on this with an expanded "beer geek" rack which you can't miss on the way to the cooler doors in the rear of the store. Some of these offerings as well as most Maine micros can be ordered by keg through the store.

They have also recently put up a "Kappy's Route 1" scrolling sign outside the store announcing beer, wine, and booze specials.

I'm not a wine or booze aficionado, but they do have a large wine and booze selection.

Well worth a stop if you're in Portland and searching for a Maine micro, out-of-state micro, or funky import to take home.

blackburnrovers, Jul 04, 2007
Photo of Hibernator
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%

RSVP is located on Forrest Ave and is pretty close to another great beer landmark; The Great Lost Bear. The layout is pretty basic as the store works as a redemption center and beer/wine/liquor store. Atmosphere is lacking in all honesty and not particularly comfortable with the concrete flooring.

It’s all about the beer selection that offers a great variety of brews. Very nice Maine representation that includes Allagash Double Ale & White Ale, Stone Coast 420 IPA, Casco Bay, Shipyard and Gritty McDuff’s. I also spotted a bottle of Atlantic Coast Brother Adam’s Bragget Ale. There is a good amount of beer in the coolers in the back, but there is a also a lot of warm beers on shelves that include stuff from Unibroue, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine, Harpoon 100 Barrel Series and a wide variety of Belgians too.

Service was basic and average by all accounts. I wasn’t offered assistance, but I didn’t seek it out either. Just made my purchases and left. There are some better stores in close proximity that may offer you better options though. Overall, RSVP has a nice location in Portland and worth stopping by if in the area for its solid selection.

Hibernator, Mar 05, 2006
Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

I went here on recommendation of BillyBrew looking for Allagash. I was not dissapointed. The beer selection is varied and it's definitely a wide audience by various styles represented. Great selection of Maine micros. Not as varied as some MA stores regarding singles from around the world but it is on my list of stores to check out on future trips. Much has already been said of service and my experience did not differ from what has been previously said. That's ok in my book, I did not want service, rather selection and price.

barleywinebrewer, Feb 28, 2006
Photo of bennybrew
4/5  rDev +3.6%

rsvp is just past the pie hole. otherwise one might miss it. i did not.

whilst attempting to secure some of that triticus the kids are talking so much about (thanks to camen and joe and jennie for the effort!). billybrew sez rsvp has it coming out thier butts. being somewhat nearby, i decided to stop on by.

billy further sez that rsvp opens at 9am sunday. i was skeptical especially when we pull up and it looks dark inside. shorenuf. they was open.

you step into a dank, dark room. good news, that (what with uv light from flourescent lights being bad for beer).

there is quite a selection. manymany maine beers. many beers i've not seen anywhere else in maine (there isn't much for beer stores where i live some 3 hours north of portland): some rogues and dfh and a wider line of some others: long trail, youngs....

prices were pretty decent: triticus was $3.99 and allagash 10th was $12 something. there were only 3 bottles of the 10th i could find and someone dropped what they were doing to go look for me. can't ask for much more than that i suppose...

not as pretty a store as downeast beverage but better prices and about the same selection.

bennybrew, Aug 14, 2005
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Not the selection I was hoping for when I saw the size of the place. Disregarding the size, it has a good selection of Maine brews, micros and imports. Picked up a six pack of Optimator and found Orval among the Belgians. Nice selection of bombers and growlers from Maine breweries. Prices were more than fair IMO. Some of the stock outside of the cooler is old so keep an eye out. I can't say much for the service. I could barely get the cashier to say good morning. I shudder to think of the response I would have gotten if I had actually needed help. Service aside, a solid shop with a nice selection. They have something for almost any taste.

7/2005 My old review applies, seems to be more Allagash and Dogfish Head than in the past. Good selection, lousy service. A must stop though if you are in Portland.

ViveLaChouffe, Jul 29, 2005
Photo of UnionMade
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%

Located a bit off the downtown area, RSVP is fairly close to the Great Lost Bear and Stone Coast Pizzeria, on the same street. Driving from downtown, it's located on the right, occupying a large, boxy white building. There's a big sign out front, so it's not easy to miss.
Walking inside, it's a warehouse layout, with a bare concrete floor and little attempt to decorate the place aside from a couple banners advertising assorted liquors and beer.
The beer selection is mostly in coolers against the back wall. It's mainly macros and imports, with all the micros on the right hand end. The usual ME treats, with a couple growlers from Maine Coast and Federal Jacks. I noticed the Maine Coast brews were all stouts, and all in clear growlers. A small warm beer section at the end of one of the aisles hosts a variety of bombers and 750ml bottles, mostly ME brewed products. Several case and six pack displays are set up for special deals.
I didn't have anyone help me, nor did I ask for assistance. The place was pretty dead, and all the employees were at the front of the store setting up some sort of sign. I wound up buying a sixer, and they did ask if I found everything I wanted. I didn't have any complaints.
I noticed the prices here are much cheaper than Downeast. The selection is about the same, with all the same local beers represented. I wanted to pick up a growler of the Maine Coast stuff, but I'm very wary of clear growlers after my experience with some store bought Franconia Notch, which was a clear, skunked growler. Nothing that the store can do about it, really. Some of the more expensive 750's and bombers had a bit of dust on them, which made me a bit dubious as to their age. The regualrs looked fresh enough, but I didn't go around checking expiration dates.
A good enough place to shop for local beer, but I'd stick with Downeast, for the service and location alone.

UnionMade, Mar 31, 2004
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%

This store is located outside town, on Forest Ave. not far from Rt. 9. The interior is like a warehouse with a lot of beer, wine, and liquor. The cashier is near the front of the store surrounded by cigarettes, lottery tickets, and some playboy magazines.

The beer selection is good, and like other liquor stores in the area, the emphasis is on Maine beer. However, there was also a decent selection of beers from outside Maine (Unibroue, some English, some German selections). Overall, probably as good a selection as Downeast Beverage Co., but not as big on customer service or atmosphere.

Definitely worth a stop on your way to or from the Great Lost Bear, or on your way to I-95.

UncleJimbo, Nov 07, 2003
RSVP Discount Beverage & Redemption Center in Portland, ME
87 out of 100 based on 51 ratings.