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. The_Beer_Shark

    The_Beer_Shark Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2014 Illinois

    At my shop I have a few regulars and they all reached that in different ways.

    GUY 1: He stops in about 1 a month and loads up on IPAs, about $350 worth. Whenever he comes in I always let him have his fill on whatever ipas he wants, no limits or whatever.
    GUY2: Originally was one of my biggest Bourbon buyers but he has also gotten into beer, he comes in once every 2 months and buys pretty much any beer over 10%
    GUY 3,4, &5: Traders, they come in at least once a week and spend time and chat with me which is nice. There are other traders that come in but these guys aren't greedy and I have never had to ask them to follow our 1pp policy on rare beers so they get special treatment.
    floridadrift likes this.
  2. chinochino

    chinochino Initiate (0) Jul 29, 2013 Washington

    when you can walk in, make eye contact with the person behind the counter, go past them right to the bathroom, not a word uttered.
  3. oldn00b

    oldn00b Champion (888) Feb 23, 2015 Virginia

    These two things go really far I think. Your bottle shop person loves ______ [beer style] - if you have something they haven't had bring in one to give away. It can't hurt. And just don't be a dick - don't buy a 1pp bottle then try to come right back and buy another. Don't shit on how they do things ("That IPA is ___ days old!")

    For me, it was just doing things like buying a couple mix sixes and/or bombers then asking "hey do you think you'll be getting any ____"? They don't know every release that's coming out and don't want to miss something personally or for the shop so I don't think most see this as a pain but more a help.

    And last thing I haven't seen on here - take recommendations. If they say something like "you're buying ____, have you tried _____?" buy one or two and let them know your thoughts next time. Regular or not, that's 1/2 the damn fun of going to the shop imho.
  4. fearfactory

    fearfactory Aspirant (296) Aug 12, 2012 Massachusetts

    I'm sure you charmed the pants off them...
  5. BrettHead

    BrettHead Initiate (0) Sep 18, 2010 Nebraska

    Yep, which is why we don't play favorites at Beertopia. Put it on the shelf and first come first serve.

    Plus I think it causes headaches (questions, text, phonecalls, etc.)
    floridadrift likes this.
  6. LeRose

    LeRose Poo-Bah (1,535) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts

    We have three stores (and recently added a fourth with Craft Beer Cellar within striking distance) we frequent depending on a few things - one's a substantial time investment so it's usually on let's get the hell away from here days and we stock up. I know a lot of faces in those stores, but rarely see the same ones twice in a row. I will sometimes ask if I'm looking for something special (more in the do you have it on the shelf versus have you set some aside for us special folk), but not very often, and I don't get all whiney if they don't have something I seek. Or just tell me they don't have it while it's sitting in the back for the truly beautiful people - how would I know the difference? I rarely leave empty handed, but other than all that beer calling take me home loudly, I can walk out with my wallet intact if nothing catches my fancy.

    For some reason, I don't really care for the "pssst...hey buddy..." thing ether. Guy did it to me with Jack's Abby Framinghammer once, hardly a walezbro beer. It really pissed me off and I can't even figure out why. For whatever reason that touches a nerve with me. Generally speaking, I'm kinda in the camp with @utopiajane on this and I'm OK being there. I spend my money, I takes my chances. I simply expect to be treated respectfully as any customer should.

    So from the reverse perspective - not seeing the same people all that frequently and rotating between stores - I'll never become a regular in the sense described here. That fact that when I do buy I'm probably dropping $50 - $75 and will willingly talk to anybody at the store is pretty much meaningless given the context.
  7. floridadrift

    floridadrift Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2014 Florida

    First name basis or close enough to a small conversation every time they come in. They know who they are.
    SoleBriety likes this.
  8. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,162) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    I'm sure that -nowadays, just as in my day- the threshold will vary from retailer-to-retailer, and beerguy-to-beerguy*.

    Back then I'd hold a six of a rare(r) seasonal release for any customer who had the foresight to place a request by way of the telephone or even an internet message (email), and generally nobody was crazy enough (E.g. there was no 'truck-chasing') to buy an entire case of anything -- "Thomas Hardy's Ale" and Samichlaus notwithstanding.

    Nowadays I'd imagine you have to drop hundreds if not thousands of dollars on rare, Craft Beer every week simply in order to get anyone's attention. Maybe drop some rare concert or ballgame tickets on the beer buyer. Maybe even bribe 'em with a rare opportunity to run through your own, private cellarfull of Whales...

    *And in the new, Craft Beer Era, Beergal, of course. :slight_smile:
  9. krome

    krome Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Illinois

    I think its a combination of the sort of regularity of visits/volume of buying/relationship with staff/owner that everyone has been chatting about. We visit the local place by us about every week (or every other week). We buy a decent volume of beer (lets say $100 or more a week). We chat with the owner at length.

    The owner knows our likes enough to simply set aside things as they come in and we buy them simply on his recommendation and appreciate the good service. Sometimes, if we've already had something he set aside, we'll ask if he thinks someone will snap it up if we don't take it (if so, it goes back on the shelf - he appreciates us not being piggy about it).
  10. DukeCola

    DukeCola Initiate (0) Mar 14, 2015 New Hampshire

    I dislike this "regular customer" gets the good stuff way of doing business. Just put the damn beer on the shelf, put a limit on it if it's "rare" and let whoever comes in buy it if they want. If I visit a shop for the first time, and all I see is dusty bottles because everything good is held out back for people, I'll never visit that shop again. Great business practice to gain new customers, huh.
  11. Smakawhat

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

    not all stores are equal... no doubt about that, but you're doing what you are as a consumer.

    If you are not getting what you want, or value out of it, then you'll shop elsewhere.
    azorie likes this.
  12. SoleBriety

    SoleBriety Disciple (332) Oct 10, 2013 California

    My local spot knows me on a first name basis. We have a casual chat here and there. He let's me know when they get their new stuff and when they restock. I show my face at their place at least once a week. I guess that deems me as a "regular."
  13. rgordon

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

    Beer porn? Just kidding. Developing relationships is a process. I want what I want and I want I it now pisses off most thinking people.
    LeRose, surfcaster and drtth like this.
  14. Homebrew

    Homebrew Initiate (0) Sep 5, 2012 Connecticut

    Sounds like your going to the wrong store, I got hag for 9+ change, gbot goes out to the list we have as well as sos and kbs/ bcbs goes out on the counter for release day for all (w/ limits of course)
    TheGator321 likes this.
  15. Bogart2930

    Bogart2930 Initiate (0) Jul 11, 2015 Florida

    Just get a job at the place if your there regularly. Than you quit after you get your whalez and next year do the same with a different place. Rinse and repeat. You can also truck chase but thats a whole other thread
  16. sculls65

    sculls65 Aspirant (237) Dec 15, 2008 Michigan

    Regular=same place, same same day of the week, same time within an hour or two. Know names of a few beer dept guys/girls. Have some rapport with them to the point of maybe getting a shot at something in high demand.. Buying same amount of beer regardless.
    evilcatfish likes this.
  17. yemenmocha

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

    Sad but rather common, in one form or another. I've had one guy tell me he deserves those first cracks at stuff, as much as he wants, as he sort of... deserves it... for working such a low paying job. He's a big OWS guy too.
  18. HattedClassic

    HattedClassic Poo-Bah (2,883) Nov 23, 2009 Virginia

    In my experience, the baseline is a $100 dollar bill and a wink.
  19. John_Beeryman

    John_Beeryman Initiate (0) Jul 19, 2014 Virginia

    You come in and buy beer more than once a month.
  20. teromous

    teromous Poo-Bah (2,916) Mar 21, 2010 Virginia
    Society Trader

    I'm pretty sure in my area that there are far too many regulars for it to even matter anymore. Supply greatly outweighs demand and distributors can't seem to give enough of what we want to the smaller bottle shops. Often times I've gone in to buy a beer that would barely qualify as semi-rare (if that's a thing) and it is sold out the same day is was delivered. Most of the time this includes a limited or single release from a brewery that is out-of-state. Fortunately it means that larger breweries like Firestone Walker and Ballast Point have increased the selection of beers that are locally available, but it sometimes means that I have to check chain beer stores or even grocery stores for the beers I really want.
  21. ArsMoriendiOU818

    ArsMoriendiOU818 Zealot (554) Nov 5, 2013 Virginia

    It is quite easy to become a regular in NY, due to the large amount of independently run beer-only stores where the owner is there like 80 hours a week. I've been to a couple Total Wine's and similar though in Florida and California, and I can't imagine how you would get any of the type of privileges that come with being a regular at an awesome NY beer distributor. These places have many employees and also sell liquor. I feel like there's not even anyone to speak with about beer, period. I've spent hours speaking with the owner at my favorite beer distributor, Beverage Plus, and he often had things behind the shelf for his best customers. Very sad I am living about an hour away from there now, but I suppose that part is irrelevant.
  22. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,196) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    I di

    Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. Shop 3 (best option). Last year about the beginning of November I asked how I can get some of the Bourbon County (variants or reg.) when its released on Black Friday. They mentioned that they only get about 10-12 bottles and all are accounted for on the waiting list plus lots of backups. He pulled out the list and it was already 20+ deep in people. At least he showed me a legitimate list, plus he told me next year to ask in September to make the cut. I think I'll ask sometime in the next week or so! :-) We'll see if this works out. I'll check back in late Nov.
  23. DukeCola

    DukeCola Initiate (0) Mar 14, 2015 New Hampshire

    Its at the point now where going to the local craft store is nothing special. They don't put good stuff on the shelves, they save it for friends and let employees snatch it up. Or give it to their 12 favorite customers. So the rest of us guys who go every week, by a six pac or two of Sculpin or Torpedo, get nothing. So why even go to the craft store if you never have a chance? Most grocery stores have the exact same beers (for less) and you don't have to play any games kissing the butt of the owner, making small talk or begging to get on some waiting list. I can go to Wegmans and get everything I enjoy there. Two other grocery stores in town have a great craft selection too. So you craft store owners out there, tell me why I should go to your store. To get a dusty bottle of Mo?
    yemenmocha likes this.
  24. yemenmocha

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

    I guess so. And pay more for the same bottle. You have to play games to get the good stuff. If you're not bringing free beer to your beer store guys, what do you expect? Others do that. See some of the above posts. :rolling_eyes:
  25. DukeCola

    DukeCola Initiate (0) Mar 14, 2015 New Hampshire

    Um, so how do you get beer to bring to the store guys when you don't have access to the beer they would want in the first place? Are they gone to give me Dinner if I bring them a Sculpin? Don't think so. Anyway, no thanks, I'm not into games. Plenty of great beer out there elsewhere and until the craft guys treat everyone the same, I'll just get my beer from grocery stores, instead. Why go to craft stores when week after week, you get nothing more than what's avail at the grocery. So, that craft guy who was getting my $30 every week has now lost that sale to the grocery store. Let them now make all their money off their 12 "special" customers.
    Chaz and yemenmocha like this.
  26. The_Beer_Shark

    The_Beer_Shark Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2014 Illinois

    Seems like you go to the wrong stores then. If some random person came in and brought me some beer I would be confused and that never happens. The guys who do bring beer are people who are already on the regular list. We talk all the time and I hook them up with stuff I've traded for too, off the clock though. Maybe it's just me and how I hate being in other's debt.

    The point I am trying to make is that if you are bringing beer to your beer guy you are probably already, or perhaps should be, a regular by that point.
  27. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,162) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    If you have the luxury of being able to buy beer at grocery stores, this is definitely the most sensible approach to take, and most beer hobbyists who are satisfied with "shelf beers" and don't see them as being an inferior option are happy with it.

    On the other hand there are a handful of states (and maybe some 'dry counties' or cities in certain states) where beer, wine, and spirits isn't available in grocery, let alone a wide selection of those beverage choices. Insofar as the 'Craft Beer Hobby' is concerned, those who seek a wide selection in those area (and especially the rarefied strata of the hobby that "needs" access to rare, seasonal releases) is either being stymied by the "suck-up" game at specialty retail, or they are happy with playing the big spendin', gift-giving game in order to charm beer buyers and thereby gain access to 'rare', limited availability items.

    Altogether this situation is definitely less than ideal.
  28. stickboy1125

    stickboy1125 Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2012 Virginia

    exactly, not sure why we need a thread to discuss this
  29. ern19

    ern19 Initiate (0) Jul 11, 2014 Georgia

    I'm a regular at a huge liquor store in an area that isn't a craft beer sort of town. I'm kind of a hype junkie, so the owners/workers always let me know whats new and coming in the coming days and always put my name on something if I ask. That being said, its a lot easier to get 'special treatment' if there arent 300 other people with the same expectation.
    bubseymour likes this.
  30. mstrcrwly

    mstrcrwly Initiate (0) Dec 21, 2013 New York

    Well said jlt6116..i been doing that with my distributor for a while and he reciprocates..when OH first canned Green Diamonds i gave him a 4 pk..went in the following week and he gave me some Heady and SoS when i bought a 6 pk and a bomber..few weeks later they canned Hop Showers and AGE...gave him 2 of each..and he sold me a '13 bomber of BCBCS for 1/2 price and gave me a snifter and tulip glass for nothing..now i pop in at least once a week..helps that it's right across the street from my job...don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing...easy access.
  31. MacMalt

    MacMalt Poo-Bah (4,635) Jan 28, 2015 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    One sign you're a regular is when they put new stuff aside for you without your asking, expecting you to stop in.
  32. Eamonn-Cummings3

    Eamonn-Cummings3 Poo-Bah (1,964) Jan 23, 2014 New York

  33. lightman1

    lightman1 Initiate (79) Oct 19, 2013 Arkansas

    You have to be recognized. You can do this in several ways, most of them already posted above. Regular visits, regular purchases, chatting with the employees. Beer gifts from other areas if local laws will allow is a good way to make friends. Maybe even glassware or clothing from your most recent out of state brewery tour will get you there.
  34. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    You'll know it when you feel it.
  35. raynmoon

    raynmoon Initiate (0) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado

    If the people behind the counter truly recognize you.
  36. schoolboy

    schoolboy Poo-Bah (3,023) Dec 23, 2005 Ohio

    Although I am not completely monogamous, I always come back to my favorite, and I spend around $30 every week. Sometimes more sometimes less. But they treat me well and i send them plenty of business. That's Saveon, in mentor, Ohio. Best variety. Fresh singles. Knowledgeable and patient staff.

    I also frequent other stores now and again and always peak in decent looking shops when I'm out of town, but the most satisfying experiences come close to home from my friends at Saveon.
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