Liquor Stores - Twin Cities at Capacity?

Discussion in 'Midwest' started by maximum12, Mar 27, 2013.

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  1. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (3,463) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Greetings compadres, I've had something that's been growing in the back of my head for months. Namely: are there too 'many' liquor stores carrying good beer now?

    Reason I ask is mostly due to IPAs & APAs. It's getting to the point that every run-down corner-liquor store is carrying Summit, Schells, New Belgium, & others. But as a craft revolution spreads, it seems like the stores have spread the craft beer dollar thinner & thinner, & it's getting more & more common to find 2-8 month old beer on shelves.

    Even Furious is starting to sit. Went to several stores the past few days & freshest I found was 2-6-13. Now, I'd happily drink that, but it was for a trade, so I wanted to find something nice & current for a good trading partner.

    So? Too man stores carrying good beer (never thought I'd have to ask that question)? Too much old stock out there? And is it getting worse?
    KWMiles, tewaris and Chaz like this.
  2. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (1,586) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Nope, but more moms n' pops could spread some of that saweet, sweet Craft Beer love around. EDIT: There was another thread a while back in which some functionary from Summit (Chip, was that you?) or other addressed the issue of old-stock Saga that turned out to not be very old at all, to whit: Two month-old packaged beer is a reasonable, sale-able product*.

    Fair point once those same beers have sat for more than five or six months and are now past-code beer: There are plenty of 'deals!' to be had on such floor and cooler stock, locally.

    (I've visited several "beer museums" recently, but am too polite to name names. Know your codes! :sunglasses:)

    *If kept in ideal (cold and dark, kinda like mushrooms) conditions.
    tewaris likes this.
  3. incutrav

    incutrav Initiate (0) Jan 16, 2007 Minnesota

    I was at a store the other day that has a fair amount of craft. Thought about grabbing some Bitter Woman, as I havent had it in forever. Checked the bottle date, January 12, 2012. Not bad I thought, only a few months old. Waiiiiiiiiiiiiit, its not 2012!!!

    Really is important to just know bottle codes, because you sure cant count on retailers pulling old stock off the shelf.
    Hopsiam14 likes this.
  4. kocina5000

    kocina5000 Initiate (0) Dec 28, 2005 Minnesota

    If it is past date besides not buying it you should politely alert the store manager. Good stores do not want to sell past date beer. Good distributors do not want stores selling past date beer. Good brewers do not want consumers drinking past date beer. Past date beer can arrive from seemingly nowhere. Usually it is a simple oversight by someone in the supply chain. If you see a place that has many beers from different breweries past date that is indicative of another problem in the store.

    I think we all have a stake in keeping fresh beer on the shelves.
  5. legwhipper

    legwhipper Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2009 Minnesota

    Salesmen pay back commission or pay full cost when they pull beer from stores. Drivers hate to handle beer an extra two times. Distributors are forced to warehouse and then destroy the beer that gets old. Retailers don't like unsold inventory using up available cash. The only winners are the distributor's employees that can buy near-date or out of season beer for next to nothing. Thanks to the liquor stores who buy way too much Oktoberfest and to the customers that won't touch it after November 1 (it's my favorite style).
  6. Hopsiam14

    Hopsiam14 Devotee (456) Jan 23, 2013 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    That 2012 will be a fun experiment for when you drink your 4 year vertical of Bitter Woman next month :slight_smile:
    Chaz likes this.
  7. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (1,586) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Bumping a good 'ol thread with word of Total Wine coming to the Twin Cities. :sunglasses:
  8. MCImes

    MCImes Disciple (353) Dec 31, 2010 Connecticut

    Is this good, bad or neither?

    Good being more competition and what sounds like a great selection of beer?

    Bad being more pressure on small/independent retailers and with that many beers they cant all turn over every few months. Also, do they get preferential treatment from distributors because they probably buy large volumes? (eating up a disproportionate amount of the KBS, BCBS, ect for the metro?)
  9. MN_Beerticker

    MN_Beerticker Initiate (0) Jul 10, 2012 Minnesota

    No because they are just helping the market rather than hurting it. Nice to find a whale/or sought after beer just hanging out.
    FreshmanPour77 and Revenant like this.
  10. Revenant

    Revenant Aspirant (280) Aug 8, 2012 Minnesota

    Surly has started to branch out a bit more recently. A few of the Mom & Pop stores by my house carry it now, In cans even. According to the sign on the door at least :stuck_out_tongue: I don't even mess with Furious right now, what with Bitter Brewer and Over Rated in full swing. Not to mention Shenanigans...
  11. sacrelicio

    sacrelicio Initiate (0) Feb 15, 2005 Minnesota

    Why does this bother you? I want as many product and purchasing options as possible. The more stores that sell craft means that I have more options at lower prices, and that sales will go up and grow the segment even more. As for out of code stuff? Know which stores to trust when it comes to fresh hoppy stuff.
  12. sacrelicio

    sacrelicio Initiate (0) Feb 15, 2005 Minnesota

    Good! Lower prices, more options. I bet we'll see a few new breweries in the state with 'em.
  13. evilgenius1917

    evilgenius1917 Initiate (158) Feb 16, 2009 Minnesota

    Before my eyes even stopped rolling the words "large, national chain" had loaded.
    Chaz likes this.
  14. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (1,586) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    I know, right? And they can probably single-handedly open the state to Sunday Sales.
    evilgenius1917 likes this.
  15. opwog

    opwog Defender (663) Jun 16, 2008 Minnesota

    A Total Wine came to Huntington Beach, CA while I lived there. Knowing some of the selections around the area, TW will just become another stop that will have a handful of items that seemingly nobody else will, but they are also rather weak at a lot of things. The positive may be that we won't have to pay $10 for Stone IRS bombers and some breweries like that work closely with TW. But for most breweries that they offer, they will have some, but not all of their selections and rarely seem to do seasonal or limited releases very well. I found this in their spirits, as well. They have a huge selection of spirits and wine (obviously), but if you ever read a review about something available in your area and then go to TW, you are pretty much guaranteed that they will have no idea what you are talking about and will show it in a database without the ability to order it. The one benefit that I saw with them (and saw with other chain liquor stores) is that if they are fed from a distribution center from a distance, that you may be able to get certain releases that they inevitably will be the only ones who have it. For instance, all of the Bev'Mo stores are serviced by a DC in the Bay Area. So beers that were distributed only as far down as Northern CA, were available at Bev'Mo locations everywhere. So for years before Deschutes had grown and the Northern CA area was as far South as they had reached, Bev'Mo was then shipping their beers an extra 500 miles to their stores. Similarly, there were beers that TW had in their store basically as exclusives, because they were available at a regional DC and then being shipped outside the region. But CA is about the size of three midwest states, so I am not sure how this might work when crossing actual state lines.

    But I have been saying this for years of traveling all over the country, that the Twin Cities area is one of the best distribution hubs for craft beer, across the whole country. And I just looked at the states that have TW and none are bordering nor even close. So as opposed to benefiting from a DC in a state like WI, it may end up that they want to set up a DC in MN and then if there was a benefit, it might be if stores were to then open and be fed from that MN distribution center, in neighboring states like Iowa or Wisconsin.
    evilgenius1917 likes this.
  16. RKPStogie

    RKPStogie Initiate (0) Nov 4, 2011 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Total Wine is Awesome!!!

    On a side note, I wish we had he same problem in the Roch. Still no Bitter Brewer down here. Bunch of nonsense...
  17. BeerBuyerBill

    BeerBuyerBill Initiate (172) Jul 23, 2012 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    DC has different retail laws than most. A store in DC can resell liquor items that are purchased privately. That is pretty unique, not many States can do this legally. Bevmo or Total Wine would have to buy ALL the beer they sell in Minnesota through a MN State licensed beer distributor just like every other store in town. They would not be selling beer that other stores in town don't have unless it's a private labeled beer of theirs.
  18. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (3,463) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Perhaps you're having trouble with the difference between a conversation starter & a complaint?

    And it's great to have options, unless they suck, & it's beginning to suck to have to guess at whether "hoppy stuff" is fresh or not. Whether you now if or not, you're guessing too, despite the "trust". Every since I saw IPAs that were 3+ months old at Blue Max, I have no idea who to "trust" anymore.
  19. opwog

    opwog Defender (663) Jun 16, 2008 Minnesota

    Sorry, I think that you understood my jump to abbreviating "distribution center" to just "DC" as being a reference to Washington D.C.. Maybe it isn't as widely used elsewhere, as it is in my world, but anytime I hear the letters "dc," even when people are are speak it, it is almost always a reference to a distribution center. Sorry if anybody thought that I was making some random jump to start talking about the District of Columbia.
  20. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (83) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota

    So if beer is sitting, wouldn't that also mean that there is too much beer on the shelves and/or too few people buying it? There was a thread in the beer talk forum about a bubble. I'm not going to comment on whether there's a bubble or not, but it seems to me that there really is a lot of beer being brewed that people aren't buying.
  21. BeerBuyerBill

    BeerBuyerBill Initiate (172) Jul 23, 2012 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    My Bad, I just woke up when I read and responded to that.
  22. RobH

    RobH Devotee (474) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland

    Hi opwog. The part of your post I quoted above is perplexing to me because Total Wine carries EVERY seasonal and limited release beer, of every brand available in the market, that the distributors in the store's service area carry. If the distributor has it in stock, we carry it. The exceptions could probably be counted on one hand. I know of no other stores that do that...carry every seasonal and special release a brewery brews and releases to distribution for the off-premise (non-restaurant/bar) market.

    Can you site some examples so that if there are indeed some holes in the system, I can get them filled?

    If there is a beer listed in the store's computer database that means it has been approved for sale in that store. As long as a local distributor carries it and has it in stock, the store CAN get it.

    If you can recall any brews that were written up as being available in Orange County, and TW didn't have it, please let me know.

    Thanks much,
  23. opwog

    opwog Defender (663) Jun 16, 2008 Minnesota

    There were two spirits that TW Huntington Beach told me that they could not get, that I ended up picking up at Hi Times in Costa Mesa (same county, about 6 miles apart). One was as a joke, but it was the Ron Jeremy rum. The other was Doubled and Twisted Moon Light Whiskey. And for a massive store opening in SoCal, I couldn't believe how many gaps there were in the tequila section. With the beers were this happened quite often, I honestly don't recall them as specifically only because my history of beer buying is fairly vast. I just remember the experience time after time of asking for beers and I remember hearing things about beers like certain maibocks and they would say that they hadn't received them yet and didn't show any of what I was seeking in the warehouse, so the staff felt that these certain beers hadn't come out yet. Except that I was asking this in mid May and then I would go to a place down the street called Liquor Barn or Hi Times and pick up those same beers.

    And I get it. I checked your profile and you work for TW, so of course you are going to take issue with the cons that I pointed out, but I wasn't trying to blast you guys in any way. I said what the pros were and said that you guys will find your niche like everybody else. You are going to totally undercut places like MGM, for example. You have other positives and I mentioned them, as well. You had the most consistant supply of Peche Mortel in SoCal that I have ever seen, is a prime example.

    Here is the reality, it doesn't matter what business anybody is in, there are pros and cons. Nobody has a flawless model for anything. As a business, you play to your strengths. TW is being a warehouse style liquor store with a massive selection and mostly competitive prices. That is a great model, but it isn't a flawless model.
    pandera likes this.
  24. RobH

    RobH Devotee (474) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland

    OK. Sounds as though you're referring to our first SoCal store in Tustin in the earlier days after opening several years ago? We listen to customer feedback such as yours to get the gaps filled in. Tequila was one of those gaps. That was my very motive in asking you here regarding beer.

    Certainly when the first Minn. store opens there will be gaps. Often times the distributors just don't have enough product to get it into the store in time for opening...they have out of stocks, so doors open with known gaps that get filled in time.

    Yep, you're certainly right in that we won't be all things to all people, nor can enybody be, but we strive to be the best at what we do; hence my inquiring after reading your feedback.

    Cheers and we hope you'll come check us out when after we open.

    sacrelicio likes this.
  25. opwog

    opwog Defender (663) Jun 16, 2008 Minnesota

    Sounds like you may not grasp the layout of the area. Nobody is going to confuse Tustin for Huntington Beach. I lived in HB for 14 years. I think that I would now if I had left the town that I lived in. Especially if it was to go 30 miles into the nightmarish depths of inner OC ;-) I went to that store once, but I rarely ever had a need to go to Tustin. That town is one grand suburbia nightmare. And those HB issues were not just opening day. I went there regularly. Even when I moved to Long Beach, I maintained 2 addresses in HB where I picked up mail twice a week and did my beer rounds at least once every week or two there, right up until about three months ago when I moved to MN. While I may have only made a purchase about 20% of those visits, it was so conveniently placed that I must have visited that HB store about 50 times.

    So, I obviously see that TW fills a niche and for some people will likely become their main source of beer and other liquor products. And don't forget that there is a lot of very popular local product that is self distributed. Surly, for all of their growth and notoriety only just signed on with a distributor a month or so ago. Those breweries, which are the ones that people are very hot and heavy for on sites like this present their own set of logistical problems for a company like TW, as well as the fact that who knows how many of them are ready to extend their sales to a national chain, when a lot of the local businesses that have supported them have a hard enough time keeping their product in stock.

    Oh, there is one! Alpine Brewing, that was one that TW HB never had, while Joe over at Farmers Harvest had it at his store and was less than a mile away from the HB TW store, straight down Beach Blvd. And I don't know if there is a TW down in SD county (where Alpine is found at most stores), but I would be surprised if even in a SD County TW store, that you have Alpine or at least would find it there very often, when compared to the smaller, independent stores. Like we have both said in different ways; every business has its strengths and its weaknesses.
  26. RobH

    RobH Devotee (474) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland


    I should have looked back at your original post. Indeed you mentioned Huntington Beach in the first sentence. I have a pretty good grasp of the layout of the area, having lived there for 16 years (Long Beach). Note my mention of the Tustin store was with a question mark. Was just asking. But had I looked back at your first sentence, I'd have had the answer.

    Sorry if you thought I was attacking. I was merely inquiring in the name of finding areas where TW can improve. Perhaps my wording came off wrong in this one-dimensional world of forum posts.

    Alpine, yes there's a good example. It's approved for our stores and some have had it a couple of times, but the distributor just doesn't get enough to fulfill all our orders. Pliney, on the other hand, we get regularly in small doses (and it sells in a flash), while California-based BevMo! does not get any.

    No TW's in San Diego Cty, yet, but just opened a store yesterday in Palm Desert.

  27. mnbearsfan

    mnbearsfan Aspirant (246) Dec 25, 2009 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Love the sales at total wine when I got to Cali. If you are coming...please bring Firestone with you
    sacrelicio and maximum12 like this.
  28. evilgenius1917

    evilgenius1917 Initiate (158) Feb 16, 2009 Minnesota

    "I can't wait to buy the products of my favorite super small companies from a large, national chain!"
    Chaz likes this.
  29. olympuszymurgus

    olympuszymurgus Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    I've visited a few museums lately, at one there were fall seasonals sitting in stacks, four or five cases of nine month old beer sitting in a warm stock room. One had some Stone 15th anniversary, a year old Mikkeller IPA, and a few cases of smitten rye from Bells(3 month old pale rye beer)

    It's experiences like that that make me shop more at the stores that stock fresh beer and turn it over in speed. I know of a few places where Furios is nearly guaranteed to have been canned no more than two weeks prior.

    On the flip side, this out of the way municipal shops are good for a few things. The limited beer that every store got a case? It might last a week there instead of 2 hours at the premium stores. You may find some Peruvian Morning on the shelf still, but who knows if they tasted a few from the shipment, testing for infection. It's a trade off.

    I shop a lot of stores, but the ones I love are not the second kind.
  30. morimech

    morimech Poo-Bah (2,857) Nov 6, 2006 Minnesota

    There is a municipal in the western 'burbs that gets mentioned around here from time to time. I swear they have never met an old beer they are not more than willing to sell you. But they are good at some things. One of the few places that still has Rye Wyne on the shelf.
  31. Revenant

    Revenant Aspirant (280) Aug 8, 2012 Minnesota

  32. RKPStogie

    RKPStogie Initiate (0) Nov 4, 2011 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Feel free to open a Total Wine in Rochester...
  33. RobH

    RobH Devotee (474) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland

    You never know...
  34. GFG

    GFG Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2012 North Dakota

    Grand Forks, ND could use a TW :grinning:
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