What defines a person as a "regular" customer to a bottle shop?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by bubseymour, Aug 24, 2015.

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  1. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,198) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    By this I mean a person whom achieves enough credibility through purchases with the store to get held "whalez"?

    Does buying a 6 pack once every week or 2 make the cut for most of those getting set-asides of rare/special release stuff?

    Case minimum once a week?

    Many expensive big bottles on weekly basis?

    Just wondering what the general levels of investment of a customer into 1 establishment is the treshold to be invited into the VIP club for limited beers.

    Realizing every store is different but just wondering as store employees/owners or customers, where is the baseline generally at? Of course it goes without saying that your are friendly and helpful to the staff and ownership and not an annoying, mean prick of a customer.
    cloverdaddy likes this.
  2. rozzom

    rozzom Meyvn (1,020) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    In theory - whoever spends the most on a regular basis

    In practice - whoever talks the most on regular basis

    But regardless of spending or yapping, it probably requires multiple visits per week
  3. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Well.... It depends.

    Basically its whether the folks in charge recognize that you stop in to look, to buy and sometimes even chat about beer while there....
  4. Shafaegalo

    Shafaegalo Initiate (0) Jan 12, 2014 Texas

    Purchases are a definite plus but I found you make more headway with communication. I visit a spot about every 2 weeks and drop about 30 bucks and then spend some time just talking with the owner about her business and the beer scene in general. I don't get first dibs on everything but when she sees me come in she'll let me know if there's anything special not on the shelves.
  5. PourMore

    PourMore Initiate (81) Oct 4, 2014 Florida

    If you want to reach this status ASAP, just be friendly and talkative with the people in the store and find out who the main beer person is who is controlling those items in the back. If you share your passion for beer and talk about it often enough with them, then when you walk in the store they'll be like "oh check this out", and take you in the back. That's how it has worked for me anyway.
    rogerdandy and beerchic like this.
  6. nick0417

    nick0417 Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2014 Illinois

    Honestly, and take this for a grain of salt because I don't have the privilege of a local bottle shop where I live, but I would think it's a mixture of frequency and the comfort of relationship with the store/owner. I guess I'm putting myself in the shoes of the bottle shop's proprietor, but if I had a customer who came in once or twice a week for a six pack or a few bottles, who was kind and a pleasure to do business with, who was super-passionate about craft beer and the spirit of the thing, I'd put a bottle or two aside of something he/she might like.
    butters_mcgee and JLaw55 like this.
  7. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Much to cynical.

    I'm a regular at my favorite case store (bottle shops are hard to find in PA) and buy or order about a case every month or and maybe make an occasional spontaneous visit to see what's new and/or interesting.

    Others spend more time chatting up the owner, but I'm the one who had right of first refusal on his case of BCBS this last year.
    rozzom likes this.
  8. Urk1127

    Urk1127 Poo-Bah (1,891) Jul 2, 2014 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Im in my local almost every day. To some....sad. but to me...im bored and have an hour lunch break next door to the store. I dont usually buy big. Maybe a bomber or couple of singles. But im in there about 3-4 times a week. I consider myself a regular as do the workers. Though some laugh at me for spending 45 min in there just reading everything new
  9. pagriley

    pagriley Meyvn (1,023) Oct 27, 2014 Illinois

    This 100%

    I am a chatty cathy, and know all the beer buyers / managers at the local stores near me by name. They always recognize me and often tell me what is out back when I stop in; one of them even texts me when something really limited lands and asks if I want one held

    People like to talk - start a conversation! You help break up their day and if they are into beer as well, you are much more interesting than their actual job of putting cases on shelves... Show a genuine interest in people and they will show an interest in you - and when it comes to beers, this usually results in them remembering what you like and occasionally hooking you up!

    It isn't nefarious or manipulative - it is simply being social and talking to people. People want to hook up people they like - it isn't always about being a big spender (but you do of course have to be actually buying stuff!)
  10. azorie

    azorie Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2006 Florida

    I guess you never heard the term its who you know? To me it would never be worth it, because a most little bottle shops are more expensive than total wine or too far to drive. NO 1 at TW gives a shit, under lucky you get a coupon once a month or so.

    sooner or later you learn whalez hunting is stupid.:grinning::grimacing::rolling_eyes:

    bring a great looking blonde with you might help. and in as little an outfit as you can...I KID, maybe:grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning:
    rather likes this.
  11. jlsims04

    jlsims04 Initiate (0) Jul 14, 2013 Illinois

    It depends. I do all of my buying in one or two trips a month. I get text's with everything that is coming in. Let them know what I want. Pick it up at my convience. Buy extra beer to stock the fridge. Hook them up with out of state releases, the whole ill scratch your back if you scratch mine situation.
    BoneyardBrewer and 4truth like this.
  12. TonyLema1

    TonyLema1 Poo-Bah (1,886) Nov 19, 2008 South Carolina

    Like Norm on Cheers, when everybody knows your name when you walk in
    MicTar, tylerstravis, Brolo75 and 2 others like this.
  13. TheGator321

    TheGator321 Initiate (0) May 29, 2013 Connecticut

    makes me wonder if it's a two-way street. one way being the patrons perception. the other would be the employees or store manager's perception.

    keep in mind a rather large place will have many regulars. not just beer but spirits and wine too. what about the old lady that buys cigarettes, lotto and booze everyday from the place. you go in once a week. I think she's got you beat. Hey ! maybe she can give you her allotment of g-bots and sos. lol.
  14. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    Depends on how much you spend I guess.
  15. BrettHead

    BrettHead Initiate (0) Sep 18, 2010 Nebraska

    It means I recognize you. That being said all beer is available to all customers. First come first serve. Way too many regular customers to be holding beers.
  16. BrettHead

    BrettHead Initiate (0) Sep 18, 2010 Nebraska

    I'd rather you spend money than yap at me about beer... :grinning:
  17. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (7,740) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    Pretty straight forward... you are a regular customer.. if you show up on a "regular" basis to buy beer.

    Not rocket science...
    5thOhio, stickboy1125, LeRose and 5 others like this.
  18. AndyEdgar

    AndyEdgar Initiate (0) Feb 2, 2014 Illinois

    Tricky question as every store will be different. I go in my shop 3-4 times a week, buy something usually about 75% of the time, spend on average about $75 - $100 a week. Usually chat with the beer guys for a few minutes about whatever has been on the boards here and browse what they got new. I don't expect anything in return, but most of the time when something comes out or will be in tomorrow, I get a heads up and offered a bottle from the back of the store. Good rule of thumb is to be a nice guy, chat up the beer guys, buy stuff that isn't just special releases on a regular basis, if you go out of town and bring home some out of distro stuff, bring your guy a bottle once in a while as appreciation.
    BoneyardBrewer and beerchic like this.
  19. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,112) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    It isn't quantity of purchase, it's quality of discourse.
    rab53, pagriley and jrnyc like this.
  20. ovaltine

    ovaltine Poo-Bah (3,556) Apr 6, 2010 Indiana
    Society Trader

    1. When the employees of said bottle shop know you by name.

    2. When the employees chase you down in the aisle, grab you by the arm, and haul you away to parts unknown, saying, "You gotta check THIS out, ovaltine!!!"

    3. When a limited release gets pulled for you and stored in the back without you even knowing that action has been taken on your behalf, then presented to you on your next trip to the store.

    4. When your wife can count the number of charges at the bottle shop on your monthly credit card statement on more than one appendage.

    5. When your kid calls you on Tuesday or Friday afternoon (release days) and asks if you're at the bottle shop.

    6. When you give the beer buyer of said store a 6er of uber fresh Zombie Dust and he hauls it around to all the store employees to show them what he's got, and then pops the top on a bottle and starts giving sample tastes to those same employees. That's called "good beer karma" (or "pay it forward," if you prefer). That single 6er yielded a LOT of good beer for me.
    larryi86, aufie, RockAZ and 5 others like this.
  21. TooGood

    TooGood Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2014 Minnesota

    Talk to the owner, stop in weekly and buy beer, bring owner beer from out of state on occasion.
  22. rather

    rather Initiate (0) May 31, 2013 California

    that's what I was thinking but decently interesting thread
  23. youcantmakeme

    youcantmakeme Initiate (0) Aug 22, 2015 California

    How about bringing the owner a pizza? He already has plenty of beer.
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  24. paulys55

    paulys55 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania

    I would say if one or more of the staff addresses you by your first name.
  25. Jmorey

    Jmorey Initiate (0) Feb 10, 2015 Michigan

    Man, using plastic at a bottle shop. That's crazy man. My shop knows I pay in cash. Don't need my wife knowing how much is spent there :slight_smile: i'll even stop at the ATM beforehand... Also makes it so I can't spend too much (me handing over a sweaty fistful of bills saying "i have this much, beer me!")

    My shop doesn't hold bottles, doesn't do lists, etc. It's love/hate. I miss out from time to time, but I think it is a better way. I would say I am a regular even though my visits are super irregular. I didn't go for like 2 months, and then I went 4 times in the last week and a half.

    None the less, they know me by name. I know them by name. I always ask how they are doing. Chat it up for a long time with the beer guys, I know a trip there takes me an hour minimum. I try to know the wine guy too, although that isn't as easy. Now they don't hold stuff for me, but they will be like "Oh hey, next friday should be No Rules" BAM, thank you guys, see you next friday.
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  26. jrnyc

    jrnyc Meyvn (1,161) Mar 21, 2010 New York

    Go there, make relationships. Talk beer, buy stuff, not just only limited stuff. Bring them beer you get through trades or through traveling.

    At the end of the day it is like anything else, make relationships with people, don't be a dick and good things will happen.
  27. ovaltine

    ovaltine Poo-Bah (3,556) Apr 6, 2010 Indiana
    Society Trader

    Well, my wife's a Michigander (Saginaw), so she knows the draw of the hop monster. :slight_smile:
  28. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,998) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Society Trader

    Yeah good point, I always ask the bartenders where I go what they want me to being them back when I go on a trip. Sometimes i will comp it other times I won't (4 cases of beer from Florida).
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  29. MistyS

    MistyS Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2013 Massachusetts

    A few years ago I was a "regular" at a local shop - talked to the owner all the time, and he'd save things for me and give me a heads up when stuff came in. I think he had a lot of regulars though and it got to be overwhelming, about a year or so back they stopped doing holds and I stopped getting the heads up on new stuff, so I started to become a regular at another smaller shop that's just getting into craft beer and enjoys talking beer with me. I think that's what I like most about being a regular- being able to talk with people who get just as excited about beer as I do!
    Himself likes this.
  30. Himself

    Himself Initiate (0) May 20, 2014 Massachusetts

    Purchasing: From your everyday beer to your special releases, attend special events at the store
    Talking: Free exchange of ideas and knowledge, you never know where you might learn something new
    Attitude: Don't be a dick. Don't come in bragging what you have acquired and who you know, that's any easy way to be ignored, and don't constantly pester about upcoming releases, we know you want it.

    Edit: There is nothing better than hanging out and talking beer with a customer, rep or salesman. That, to me, is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the craft beer movement.
    #30 Himself, Aug 24, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
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  31. Geuzedad

    Geuzedad Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2010 Arizona

    I have a very good friend who manages a "place". He knows who his regulars are who stop in and actually buy his products, versus those who come in to look but usually never purchase or call/stop in chasing the "whales" but never spend a dime otherwise. He takes care of those who spend money regularly in his store. And no you do not need to be a person who makes multiple visits a week or spends exorbitant amounts of money. Just do your shopping there and be nice. My buddy loves talking beer and customers who do likewise and are respectful and friendly carry a lot of weight with him. Remember these guys need to move product to stay in business so yes most of them are going to take care of the folks who stop in to buy the regular stuff on a regular basis.
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  32. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Zealot (579) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    And to quote Zach Galifianakis (sp?): "... and you've never been to that store before."

    I try and hit Norfolk Total Wine (and a newly opened bottle shop down the street) once a week on Tuesday-ish (when they get the new weekly goodies). I'm friends with a couple of the staff that work there. They relate what's new and I relate what I've had recently and my opinion (I think I made a Grunion convert out of one of them).

    Grape and Gourmet out in VA Beach is another story... I can't make it out there but once a month usually. But when I'm there, I but at least a case and chat it up with the owner.

    Basically, I don't think it's about how often you go moreso than how chatty you are when you're there.
    #32 MistaRyte, Aug 24, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
  33. Greywulfken

    Greywulfken Poo-Bah (5,114) Aug 25, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    You've been going there for at least a a few months, close to weekly - your face is known, your name should be, too - you spend a decent amount per trip - you have talked enough for them to know that you know beer
  34. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,853) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    No single definition.

    Some places it seems to be who is more of a "friend" or someone who chats more, who is cool, or whatever. Other places there is a frequency of visits sort of criterion. Other places it comes down to the big spenders. And there's some contradictions in the above at some places as well, for example the frequent customer with small purchases getting more than the much bigger spender who comes less frequently. (what counts as a good customer then?)

    I've even overheard a few snide comments, class warfare-ish, from staff about a guy who is a big spender who gets upset that he's left out of the rare releases.

    So, don't assume it is a rational process that makes sense. You have to figure out whichever game the employee is playing, and play their little game.
    Ericness and Jaycase like this.
  35. drunkenmess

    drunkenmess Savant (938) Mar 27, 2015 Michigan

    Agree with all of you.
    So many trips.
    Conversation and relations with owenrs does help.
    Letting them know you are into certain hard to obtain beers.
    Also getting recommendations from owners also helps. Creates a bond lol.
    Like my two favorite bottle shops save me stuff/set aside certain beers they think I'll be into or ask about.
    Recently picked up some Wootstout they set aside. Along with others I'll enjoy.
  36. charlzm

    charlzm Poo-Bah (2,180) Sep 3, 2007 California

    Ask if they'll hold a whale for you. You're a regular if they say, "Yes."
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  37. mudbug

    mudbug Defender (617) Mar 27, 2009 Oregon

    Do you know the owner's name? Does he know yours? I'm a "regular" and I know his name, his wife's name, his favorite style beer. Everytime I'm in the store I make pleasant conversation and when they were expanding and nocking down a wall I pitched in and helped. I get stuff saved for me all the time and I always buy everything saved. Personal contact is what makes the difference.
    None of this stuff (except buying the beer) cost me a penny and probably took up less time than some folks waste calling every store in town and chasing trucks.
    Geuzedad, nickmantia and PapaGoose03 like this.
  38. fearfactory

    fearfactory Aspirant (296) Aug 12, 2012 Massachusetts

    Buy their beer. At least every week. Sometimes twice. Chat with beer guy. I see him outside the shop, and consider him a friend.
    Quick small talk about beer with cashiers.
    Send friends and family there for beer.
    Attend their functions, like tastings, homebrew contests, and dinner/beer pairings at local restaurants.
    Share and respond to their posts about beer on social media.

    And I do this without even trying. I enjoy what they do for the craft revolution, and the fans. Don't just be a customer, be a fucking advocate.
    Geuzedad, MTKATL, andilane and 2 others like this.
  39. beerchic

    beerchic Initiate (0) Feb 28, 2015 Ohio

    Beer Manager here. I agree with so many posts here. It isn't so much about how much you spend. It is about your passion for beer. Get to know us, let us know what you like, and what specific beers you may be looking for. Don't be afraid to say, "If beer XYZ comes in, can you call/text me?" DON'T do this if you are just a whale chaser, we already forgot your face on your way out. One of my newer "regulars" will get anything he asks for held for him. Why? He brings me rare beers and we trade. Any bottle store person worth their pay loves beer as much as you do!
  40. jlt6116

    jlt6116 Initiate (0) Oct 13, 2009 California

    As the person who decides who gets the 'whalez bru', it has more to do with who is taking the time to engage with me than it does with who's got the biggest wallet. Also, the BA's who will spend time chatting usually talk themselves into a fair amount of beer and generally appreciate talking themselves into that beer. My favorite customers aren't even looking for the whalez. They are the ones who will go on a vacation, bring me back a bottle of something awesome and refuse to take money or beer for it because 'you really go out of your way to make sure we have an awesome beer selection'.
    Geuzedad, Gemmell and beerchic like this.
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