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Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by whiskey, Nov 4, 2012.
I wish they would hurry up and get to Chicagoland....
Amen to that. When I first became interested in craft beer, Lee's was my go to store due to the selection and the fact that one of their largest stores was just minutes from my house. The service was and still is awful. Nowadays I go into a Lee's about once or twice a year. I was in one a couple of weeks ago and got the same lousy service as usual. No "Hello", when I walked up to the counter, no smile, no "Thank you" when the transaction was completed. The guy just grabbed the beer, said "$10.47", handed me my change and that was it. No sign whatsoever that they were glad to have my business.
Total Wine is a huge improvement over Lee's. Better selection, better prices on almost everything, much friendlier service. I hope they put Lee's out of business one day.
That said, it's Khoury's I try to do most of my business with. Best service in town, and while the size of selection is a fraction of what Total Wine carries, Khoury's does tend to get in a few excellent beers that even Total Wine or Whole Foods doesn't get.
As far as Total Wine, I agree... it's been almost always a positive experience, but there's still a little room for improvement. My first wish would be that they would refrigerate more of their beers.
I don't buy Hoppy brews at Total Wine, I've had too many that were just bad and drain poured them. If it's not age worthy stuff like Stouts and Porters I won't take a 2nd look unless it's a recent release where freshness is not in doubt. When you buy as much volume as they do your bound to get old IPA's sitting warm and in the light at some time for an extended amount of time. Want a skunked beer, buy a German Pils off the shelf from TW, a good shot depending on the brew.
I agree you have to be careful with hoppy brews. but I think that goes for anywhere. I think the turnover for TW is probably higher than the mom and pop shop down the street, but the bottom line for me is if it doesn't have a date I don't pick it up.
Agree. Total Wines near me get a lot of my business ( i have 2 near me), but I also from numerous local bottle shops as well. As with any store I shop at, when it comes to hoppy beers I shop based on freshness dates, not particular beers. I will only buy hoppy beers without dates is if there are current seasonal/new release or I know for sure it is a new shipment that has just arrived.
Nope, at first it's all good. Oh wow, look at all these great beers and they're so much cheaper than everywhere else in town.
Then it begins, the quality goes down as the prices go up. I never purchase anything without a freshness date or vintage printed (ex. celebration 2012) at Total Wine and only shop there as a last resort. Don't bail on your local/small retailers (if they are nice people that like beer) for TW!
Then why do you love it?
Enjoy the cheap prices while they last (they will go up, trust me, seen it happen in several states) but I must admit, it is annoying as fuck to drive around all over the place to buy beer in the Spokane area and there is no "beer store" in Spokane to speak of anyway.
The dist. there just makes no sense. You'll find different beers at Hucks, Bottles, URM, JB's, etc. and then have to go out to Enoteca for other stuff (makes sense with it being in ID). But still, whenever I visit my parents, I'm going all over town to do my beer shopping.
Yeah the distribution is certainly strange around here. I visited the TW yesterday and have to say I am a bit puzzled. There were a lot of breweries represented in there I thought we just didn't see because of distribution. Now it appears we never saw those because Spokane stores/distributors were simply choosing not to carry them.
The thing you have to keep in mind, I guess, is that the Kan is a bit of a metro-island. We're the only real city for at least a couple hundred miles in every direction, more for some directions. Plus we're still not that big of a place. I'm pleasantly surprised at how the beer scene is progressing here with that in mind. The fact that we even got a TW is still amazing to me.
You make some good points and I'm curious to know what brands/beers are now showing up in the area as a result of TW.
I've wondered if it was the retailers in Spokane that didn't know what they were doing, or in-fact the distributors...big surprise it sounds like it's the distributors
jealous, the only time i get to see total wine is on the way to visit my parents in the OC. s'ok give me an opportunity to support my local liquor stores carrying craft!
on another note, prices just cannot be beat at total wine, idk what their secret is but they need to keep doing it. my only problem with them is that customer services is horrible if you're not in the store. i can't count how many times i've called them trying to find a particular brew releasing soon & get faulty dates of all different kinds from the employees. i suspect that most of them have no idea what's going on & no idea who's in charge of ordering. i've called before to ask if the beer was in stock to have an employee lie to me outright & say no, when after checking in the store the same day out of curiosity & buying the bottle then!
take away: never trust the employee on the phone & go in yourself to find the deal
The place I go is a regular grocery store in Spokane. One of the managers there knows his shit and has to beg his distributor to get him the stuff he wants. He actually has to call other distributors the get the item numbers to give to his guy so he can get what he wants.
He has other stores that are getting things like Bruery and KDS that don't even ask for it, while he begs for the stuff to no avail. I really think the distributors suck ass.
Binny's is pretty awesome so you have it better than most.
Prices, mix 6 packs, closer than going to Atlanta (when I'm living in Georgia).
be careful with singles. They mark them up. I just paid $5 for a bottle of Backwoods. Shit sucks, but I paid for the convenience.
I wish there was a Total Wine in northeast PA! The prices around here are RIDICULOUS!
Word. I am really just talking about the Total by me so perhaps I have generalized too much.
The Total Wine near me has a lot of bad product. Old IPAs really abound, and their selection is so vast that you really can't just keep track of what's new product. I still enjoy shopping there, but it's very rare that I'll pick up a year-round undated IPA off the shelf from there. Generally, I shop from two mom and pop stores that I keep tracks of their inventory to ensure that I'm getting fresh product. When their spring beers start coming in is a great time to go shopping though, they'll blow out a lot of the higher ABV winter beers that are still great.
So I was just talking with the owner of the liquor store near me where I get a lot of brews and he told me that total wine all is about wine (crazy right?!) and thats why the beer is never in the front (at least the one in my town) and craft beer is non existent so to speak. He told me their employees arent taught anything about brews hence why some of us have dealt with clueless employees. Apparently all the resources is about learning about the private label wine which is the big moneymaker.
IMO: mark-up on singles > having to buy an entire 6 pack.
Fair enough...if it's your only option then what else can you really do.
That is quite lame that he can't order what he wants...what grocery store is it? Just curious...
In the NE as well and I've seen what is considered a blow out price for old IPAs - $1 or $2 off. Big F'ing deal.
I have done ordering for a few bars in Spokane and the way distribution works, is that certain bars/stores have priority over others. Places like Tap House, Ale House, and Flying Goat will get first picks at beers and kegs. Tell the owner to express his desires to become a beer buying destination and just keep being friendly with reps. It takes time, but eventually he will get the more sought after beers.
Total Wine >>>> BevMo
TW's regular prices are often lower than BevMo's sale prices, and the single bottle selection makes BevMo's laughable by comparison. My only problem is that I've got two, maybe three BevMo's that are closer to me than is the nearest TW.
Don't call it that.
I like the prices at TW. The selection is pretty good most of the time. Special stuff that comes in beer wise sells out fast. The Employee's in the Tucson locations DO NOT KNOW dang crap about beer. If I am lucky the distribution guys are there and they will tell me when stuff is coming in. Also the "singles" isle is a pain in the rear. I wish it was layed out better.
So there you go. Good prices if it is in stock.
From what he said about the manager's "other stores" and some other circumstantial evidence, I'm guessing it's Yoke's.
I love Total Wine, prices are awesome and they get most of the special releases. Employees are nice, and what do i care about their beer knowledge? I'm not asking for recommendations or care to "talk about beer" with them.
The singles layout is awful, the guy in charge of beer for the company insists that it's better.
Generally I agree but I spent 20+ minutes with clueless employees at Total Wine the other day looking for Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout (which was listed on their website) to no avail. I went to BevMo right after and the dude pointed me to a huge display (at least 2 cases on a side shelf) within minutes. Normally I don't go to BevMo though as they have some fucked up business practices, especially when it comes to employee treatment.
Curious about the "fucked up business practices"...do tell.
Hmm, interesting, last time I was in Spokane, I did notice that a Yokes (one on the North Side) had a pretty decent selection of bombers and sixers.
BTW, You never did answer my question as to what you are able to find (beers and/or breweries) at TW that should have always been available in Spokane...
TW was a fun place to visit when I was in Florida. I can't argue with the staff having less than par beer knowledge because they killed it on wine knowledge. It isn't called Total Beer, for good reason. I agree with antilite, it helps people enter into the wide world of beers.
What exactly is your definition of "corporate"? They're family owned by two brothers.
Yeah, my wife worked there part time for quite a while and loved it so I am certainly interested in this as well.
I buy all my Sierra Nevada products from Total Wine in delaware. Its 10$ cheaper a case 28$(no tax) compared to 38 with tax.
I'll always support my Local first because they know beer, know what I like and always look out for me. Their prices are great too when going up against TW. Total Wine does have it's advantages (like that most people don't go there for special releases). Their prices are usually a little lower than my Local if I'm really watching every dime and they have to move product so closeout prices are great. The single bottle selection is a nice plus too.
I also enjoy knowing that if I ever want to relive my college years with a keg of Busch Light and box wine I can probably get that too.
Well from what I have seen recently from Total Wine here in New Jersey, I prefer Wine Works very much so. If your like me, this is the one place where I can find the biggest selection of Italian craft outside of New York. But if not, they also have a world selection like no other. I see beers from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Japan, of course the Belgians, and East and West coaster's.
A corporation with over 85 stores spanning 13 states. I also work for a "family owned" company but when they get that big its no longer REALLY that. To get that big you need investors and that means you have to become like Walmart (which Total Wine is). My "family owned" company has about 130 stores in 8 states. Its a corporation.
I have one personal example, but it has made all the difference to me. So there was a really cool guy that worked at a BevMo near me. He was the only person in the whole god damn store that knew anything about alcohol other than wine. He was knowledgeable in especially beer, scotch and rum. One of 2 or 3 employees I have ever met at 2 BevMo's and 3 Total Wines who knows anything about anything. He was fired because he carded someone who was over 21 and they complained to the corporate office that he was harassing them. And this isn't a story he told to make us feel bad for him, this is the story I was given by his manager when we asked where he was. He is allowed to card, and actually encouraged to card, ANYONE who walks through the door, but especially anyone he thinks may be under 30. Yet if that person gets annoyed because they don't want to pull out their ID, he gets fired for it?