Summit Liquors

Liked This Place
3.87 w/ 8 ratings

Type: Store

2000 County Rd E
White Bear Lake, Minnesota, 55110-7333
United States

(651) 770-9622 | map

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Added by summitliquor on 08-01-2008

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8 |  Reviews: 7
Reviews by LordAdmNelson:
Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%

I've been to other Minnesota liquor stores looking for Surly stuff and this was the first one where I found some. Great selection here, and most things are really reasonably priced! I found things from Surly, Southern Tier, Great Divide, Unibroue, etc--not to mention a good deal of other brews! Service was rather nonexistent, however. More than that, the people there were somewhat unpleasant. Where's the Minnesota nice? Definitely a good place to go and pick up some good brews, however: good selection, decent prices.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of kristine22
4.78/5  rDev +23.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Great service and awesome selection. Very pleased with the prices!!

When I walked in, I was greeted right away and the salesperson helped me find my favorite craft beer. The selection was great and they had very reasonable prices.

I wish I lived closer so I could make this my go-to liquor store.

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Photo of smee
2.34/5  rDev -39.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 1 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5

Summit is packed full of craft beer and wine, but don't be fooled by the glamorous atmosphere--check the dates (and don't buy anything undated). I've made this mistake once or twice. It makes me wonder if distributors even bother to check the dates of the items or whether Summit staff have been adequately trained to check dates on items. With craft beer (especially) you must be attentive to the freshness. Otherwise you're getting a flavor that will be compromised by shelf-life.

Customer service is lacking. Staff are unapproachable and hang by the registers. When I have asked about beers staff have been unsure where items are kept and just lack the familiarity of brands and beer styles. Recently I asked if a specific beer would be coming into the store and the staff rudely replied that he couldn't check that for me. I've worked retail for many years and know that you just don't reply that way to a buying customer. You offer to help them in anyway possible or reassure the customer that you will look into making the item available. Believe me, I realize that retail is usually minimum wage or slightly above, but please try to hire staff that are actually passionate or at least knowledgeable about the products you are selling.

I won't be returning to Summit. I've had enough of expired beer and poor customer service!

fyi: this has been for weekday evening hours

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Photo of MJSawyer
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of skipanoka2
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

I lived a few miles down the road from Summit Liquor for the last few years, and have been in the store countless times. The beer wall is impressive, with enough beers to keep your eyes busy. I really like the Beer Advocate grading cards that they hang in front of many of the beers.
The store is good about keeping a broad selection in store, but it seems that there is little to no turnover of many beers. The coolers are full of beers that are past their best-by dates. Normally, I know what I'm looking for going in, but, even so, I've found myself at the counter with sixers of Great Lakes beers that I noticed were old just in time. It's just something to be aware of.
It's a good store, with a strong selection, reasonable prices, and a friendly staff. Just be sure to look over what you're buying to verify freshness.

I've since moved, and continue to miss Summit Liquor.

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Photo of ForWhatAlesYou
4.44/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

After living in Rapid City for 9 months and moving back to MN I was very surprised to see the advancement in that short time of beer in MN. Summit Liquors in White Bear Lake was a good part of that surprise.

I had lived in St. Paul and it suburbs (including WBL) for 25+ years and was thrilled to find a place like this in the NE metro. I stopped in on a whim after I was sent on a beer run. Instead of hitting up MGM I thought I'd give Summit a try (always like to support the small local guy when I can).

Right away I was in beer heaven when I saw the entire side wall covered with craft cans and bottles, many of which were rare and hard to obtain even in a great beer state like MN. Also, in the back beer cooler there were plenty of good craft representations including a bunch of variety/sampler packs that I love from breweries that I didn't even know released variety packs (Great Divide, Brau Brothers, etc.)

The back cooler did smell a little musty and the prices were a buck or two high, but I guess that's to be expected from a new and small liquor retailer.

The service was great. These guys were happy to chat about beer and the local beer culture. They directed me to a few local places with good craft brew (all of which I already knew, but I appreciated the effort).

Also, a huge plus was the punch card system they set me up with. After buying twenty 6pks, 22oz bottles, or 12 pks of "specialty" beer, they will give you a free item (or value) up to $12.00. That kinda helps make up for the inflated prices. I was happy to take a punch each for my Tallgrass Halcyon and New Belgium Somersault (it was a beer run for me and two ladies.)

Stop by Summit Liquors and support your local retailer and get to know the guys!

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Photo of Chaz
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%

The Short of It:

A visit to Summit Liquor is well-worth the trip! This retailer offers fair prices, friendly service, and one of the best selections of specialty beer in the White Bear Lake area.

The Long . . .

Summit's selection of Craft, Specialty, and Import beer is expansive, and you find yourself in the beer department immediately upon entering the store. Several shelves worth of specialty imports are on your right (west wall) and a small sale area is to your immediate left. This section includes a sizable selection of Belgian ales (Het Anker, Van den Bossche, Dupont) alongside brews from the likes of Dieu du Ciel, Flensburger, Schneider, and Unibroue. Among these singles and four-packs are a handful of gift sets and brewery samplers. In the sale area you'll find a stack of Summit's weekly sales circular and a sign detailing the terms of the current sale. A table featuring a small selection of marked-down seasonal items rounds out this particular area.

Beer Department - General Notes
The specialty and craft section consists of a shelving unit which stretches most the length of the store. At the far end of the shelving unit a half-dozen standalone display coolers abut the large cold box on the south wall. Each standalone features a selection of craft and imported specialty brews, both in singles and in six-packs. Facing opposite the west-wall's craft and specialty section are shelves featuring a number of wines and cordials, as well as more specialty beer and a smaller selection of marked down beers (this last selection is nearest to the coolers). In front of the cold box a half dozen palettes are stacked with domestic Macro, craft, and high-volume Imports (at the time of my visit these palettes were largely depleted). Several wine, spirits, and cordial aisles constitute the center of the store, and a number of standalone display racks serve as end caps for these aisles, including an Anheuser Busch "mix-a-six" rack and one dedicated to single Belgian ales (750s).

The selection of macro offerings is also considerable, with all premium and popular brands featuring a prominent placement. I found it noteworthy that although the Macro facings in the cold box were largely fully-faced, throughout the Craft section I noticed more than half-a-dozen empty facings. Notably, there was a single six-pack of Sierra Nevada ESB and no multi-packs of Pale Ale, Stout, or Porter - I'm guessing these were pulled to make way for Bigfoot and Torpedo.

Craft and Specialty Beer - Highlights
I was happy to see Saint Somewhere and Eel River on the dry shelves, alongside offerings from North Coast, Great Divide, Rogue, and even some Arcadia. There are also plenty of large and small format singles (Avery Beast, Eel River Imperial Stout). Multiple front facings of particular craft beer brands made me wonder whether they stocked the rest of the brands from those particular brewers.* Specialty imports that caught my eye included (plenty of) Gouden Carolus Cuvee Van der Kaiser, Thomas Hardy's Ale, and two partial cases of Ola Dubh 12 and 16 year.

Markdowns and Past-code Beer
In addition to some marked-down, past-their-prime singles I also noticed brews by two craft breweries that had been dropped by their wholesaler earlier last year. And while old stock and "furniture" can be found even at places like Blue Max, these unfortunately stood out even more here at Summit since (frankly) I honestly wasn't expecting their selection to be as good as it is. On the upside, the 2006 Arcadia RIS I purchased held up nicely; as the old saying goes, Caveat Emptor.

Staff and Checkout - Highlights
The fellow on staff at checkout was friendly enough, and it is clear that the folks at Summit make efforts to educate and inform their customers: the wine department features high-visibility, created-on-premise signage that acts as both a tasting and a pairing guide. Moreover, throughout the beer department bona fide Beer Advocate shelf-talkers adorn each craft and specialty facing and a basket of hand-bills at the checkout encourages shoppers to rate the store here at BA.

Overall impression and general notes
Although Summit is a larger retailer you will not get lost here since every department is clearly marked (there's even some attractive neon on the east wall!). Summit is also clean and well-maintained. The prices that I saw here were fair, with some items priced according to older buy sheets (Surly, Het Anker) and others obviously reflecting changes made in the New Year (e.g. new Old Style 12 NR). Worth a visit!

* At the time of my visit Summit's website was down, but it had previously made a claim to an extremely high number of beer SKUs; I saw no evidence of that kind of number on my visit.

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Photo of beerkittycat
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Best location north of St. Paul to buy beer. HUGE selection of single bottles so you don't have to commit to a whole six pack. A nice eclectic mix of Belgians, domestics, German, English, Eastern European and a few other interesting finds to explore. Prices are cheaper than almost any other place around. Most Belgians were about a buck or more cheaper than what I've found closer to Mpls or St. Paul. Tuesday is poker night where you pick a chip out of a buckt and get a discount depending what number is written on the chip. Friendly people, too. Definately worth the drive.

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Summit Liquors in White Bear Lake, MN
Place rating: 0 out of 100 with 8 ratings
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