Discussion in 'US - New England' started by Todd, Jul 6, 2012.
From the Craft Beer Cellar newsletter ...
So happy for those ladies!!! The best in the biz.
This is a wonderful shop. I've only been in twice, but it's obvious that it's run by people who truly love great beer. They've got some nice glassware for purchase too. My favorite touch? They actually carry Saison Dupont in BROWN bottles in addition to the green, skunk-prone bottles you see everywhere else.
Get the eff out of town! I really need to make a trip to this shop at some point in the near future, and Saison Dupont in amber glass may be a big part of that trip. It's my favorite beer that I just won't buy....
When I was in last week, they had singles and four packs of SD in 11.2 oz capped brown bottles. I only drink it on tap usually. I saw the brown bottles and grabbed a couple. Awesome. The larger format, corked & caged bottles were green glass only.
Great news--I hope one of the new stores is in Cambridge/Somerville and T-accessible!
Rumor has it that the brown bottle 4 pack shipment was a mistake, and that we won't be seeing them again.
I wish them success but three more stores sounds like a very ambitious undertaking. Wine Nation is a good example of what can easily happen. I hope they start with 1 then more if the first new one is successful as opposed to three new stores at once.
Wine Nation is clearly run by people with no business sense though. It seems as though they didn't crunch any numbers before opening a new store, which would have to be an edge case for most small business owners.
I'm betting this is probably a necessary development for CBC because at their current size they probably have trouble getting distributor attention compared to the Gordon's, Julio's, and Blanchards of the area.
You're probably right about Wine Nation and it really is astounding that they probably went that route.
Good stuff. Craft Beer Cellar is a fantastic store, but it's a horrible location if you don't live in the general vicinity. I also hope they're going to expand out of that Pike area, which is flooded with beer stores. Something right off the highway south of Boston in Dorchester or Quincy would fill probably the biggest void in the area.
cbeer is right, the south shore area seems to be a bottle shop dead zone so one in Quincy would be a good guess. There isn't much going on in the Merrimack Valley as far as I can tell, they would would be strong there. Metro west is obviously covered. What about something actually in the city that is T accessible? Also would be a great stop for tourists if it was located in the Boston\Cambridge area.
Glad to hear this. Hope one makes it to Brookline. Although, didn't work out so well for PH provisions...
Gotta echo the south shore...even more south than Quincy. I have a hard time here in Dedham finding a store that truly gives a rats ass about their beer selection. So much that i have seriously thought that if i was to open my own business, it would be a craft beer store in this area that cares. Even thought about different sections for IPAs depending on age.
Given that CBC is opening 3 new stores, I would be very surprised if at least one wasn't south of Boston.
The customer service of PHP and CBC are a thousand leagues apart, and I thnk that can make or break you.
If you go further south shore than Quincy, then you're getting into reasonable distance to Granite territory, and Craft Beer Cellar is no better than Granite. Also Curtis and Luke's help service the south shore decently. It's the whole Southeast Expressway area that is a complete no-man's land.
Agreed Dedham isn't great, but at least there is the Whole Foods, and Blanchard's West Rox right over the border. Both of those are better than anything off the Southeast Expressway.
fair point, i still wonder though if PHP wasn't doomed more due to being a smallish craft beer store without BMC (or liquor, big wine selection etc) in such a high rent district. then again, obviously belmont isn't exactly bargain-basement territory either.
I thought the maximum amount of beer/wine/liquor stores you can operate in MA was three. Am I making that law up or did it change? Unless a new store is going to be in another state.
The guy that worked at PHP always looked miserable. CBC has first rate customer service. Plus they are really into social networking. I think some of the reasons that PHP failed are more than obvious.
Yeah I like Granite, I just wish it was a little closer to me. I was thinking more of the Westwood - Norwood - Dedham – Canton – Milton areas. I guess that’s more southwest from Quincy
Dedham’s not the worst, but more than a couple times I've asked a beer-related question at Blanchard’s in WR and got blank stares or shrugged shoulders. Their just-ok selection (given the size of the store) and lack of helpful beer knowledge frustrates me sometimes. And I wish Whole Foods would allow mix packs of fresh beer and stop hiding goodies in the back for those who know a secret password.
But I can see Quincy supporting a CBC well. The relatively dense population there should help…
Yeah I don't know, I liked that they were there and used to stop in to buy something after dinner at American Craft. But I wonder if part of the problem was simply their name. If someone who doesn't know about the store drives by and just sees the name "Publick House Provisions", are they going to know they sell fun beer there? Id' say no. But, I can't remember if there was lots of visible beer in the window. I don't think there was (a good thing). Just speculating...
I think you're thinking of the maximum number of locations where a supermarket chain can have beer/wine sales.
I thought it was for any store to prevent unfair competition.
Well there are 5 Blanchards locations.
I think part of PHP's failure was its location. I said it a few times in the past (American Craft had much of the same problem), but Brookline is deceptively a pain in the ass to go to. The green line takes an eternity (even longer on weekends), it's a cumbersome spot to drive to for anyone north or south of Boston, and parking can be a hassle.
A huge specialty beer selection requires more than just locals - people drive out of their way to Julio's, Marty's, Granite, Yankee, etc because they're right off the highway and you conveniently pull into giant parking lots. PHP was a store you only went to after dinner at Publick House or American Craft, unless you lived nearby.
Craft Beer Cellar isn't the easiest location either, but at least they have plenty of parking, and they go out of their way to compensate by doing everything else in a top notch manner.
It used to be 3. Now it's 5 (since last December?), then will go up to 7 in 2016, and eventually 9 in 2020. However, the total number of licenses would remain relatively unchanged, since it's regulated by towns based on the population.
There are actually 7 Blanchards. The chain is split up between different owners within a family. For example, the Allston location is indepedent (and does the most volume), but then a few actually are together.
I have a dream that Needham will allow liquor stores soon (it's on it's way) and CBC will be the first to open. It wouldn't be a bad location considering the wealthy towns around here lack of good selection between Newton and Framingham (or beyond).
Julio's has us covered from Framingham and beyond.
Living outside the city, I haven't been able to make it to CBC- but have heard nothing but good about them. 3 more locations does seem rather ambitious, and there's the obvious worry of over-expansion.
But impressions mean a lot, and given the positive ones for CBC, it would seem they have a good shot.
As far as publick house provisions goes- they failed due to said impressions. Upon opening, and for a while after, the guy running the shop was disagreeable on a good day. Surly, unhelpful, and generally unapproachable. Couple that with prices that were initially a significantly more than similar locations close by... why would anyone have expected them to succeed?
CBC clearly does not suffer from those issues.
I gotta say this is great for CBC. I would expect them to open up in a young, hip up and coming spot like JP or Back Bay. Something like that. Where there are young people, with young money.
I can't see quincy supporting another beer store with old colony, atlas, and Supreme all offering a couple hundred beers. These stores might not come with the knowledge of CBC or Granite but I dont see the clientele looking for that level of service. Its tough enough to find a decent bar on tap in Quincy, Fat Cat is about it, if the demand was there it wouldnt be that difficult. I cant believe people are saying that the south shore is a tough place to find a bottle shop, I feel we have a better selection of shops than the city.
I don't know. The thing with Quincy, is that nobody has tried. Look at how busy Fat Cat gets - people are willing to wait 2 hours to get a decent meal and a beer, because there's nothing else in town with a craft/gastropub vibe. It's not like there is a long list of beer bars or stores that have opened and failed or anything. If Weymouth can support both Granite and Curtis, I'm positive Quincy (with twice the population) can support a single high-end beer store. Then you also have Milton, Dorchester, and Braintree that will all send plenty of people to Quincy for good beer. Also, just get a decent location off the highway (East Milton Square off Exit 9 would be killer), and people will travel to it.
Atlas and Supreme serve their purpose admirably, but neither have anything close to the selection of a Granite or CBC. Rochefort is about the most exotic Belgian I can get at those two places combined, and while their American craft selection is solid, it's highly unpredictable, and they definitely take a back seat on many limited releases.
In defense of PHP I always received top notch service there. Was always greeted by name and helped with anything I needed, even if it was just standing around talking beer for 15 20 minutes.
The women running CBC are smart people and I'm super interested to see where these new stores pop up. My guess is it won't be anywhere we're generally expecting. Belmont has a long history of being a dry town. I'm guessing they've converted a lot of people who came in because they don't have a plethora local liquor stores to go down to for a six pack of Heineken. Combine that with their extremely friendly attitudes and I can see how they've been so successful. Best of luck to them in the future.
Ever tried this place?
Stumbled upon it since it's right next to my SIL's, it has a decent craft selection IMO.
Yeah, it's technically the closest store with a decent craft selection to my house, but I actually don't go there very often. They don't sell much volume, and they don't rotate in fresh stock very well. That can occasionally lead to some "aged" gems, but at this point, the best stuff has been picked over. A couple of years ago I could count on them for stress-free piles of KBS, but those days are long gone, and they don't seem to get any limited releases any more.
Next time you are in the area, check out Atlas - it's less than a mile from there on Adams St towards Quincy. Much better store.
Actually that would be oversimplification. There are liquor stores around, Cambridge Wine and Spirits is literally a few minutes away from Craft Beer Cellar and has a pretty good selection including rarities AND Heineken Location of CBC is helpful but their success is due to the way they run business more than anything.
Further down the South Shore, Granite in Weymouth and Ralph's in Hingham are very solid options for quality and service when it comes to craft beer.
Closer into town between Exit 8 on the SE Expressway and Exit 6 on Rt 128, Bin Ends has quietly put together a very respectable craft selection. A bit off the main drag on Wood Road in Braintree, these guys pass on the Bud/Miller/Coors biz and put their focus on real beer.
Particularly strong on bombers, you can frequently find a selection of local/regional product from Maine/Mystic/Pretty Things as well as folks like Boulevard/Southern Tier/Left Hand/Dogfish/etc. They have beer tastings on Friday evenings.. http://www.facebook.com/binendswine
There's Baystate Food and Spirits in Brookline
I haven't been to Bin Ends in a while, but it used to be a very oddball selection. You could get decent beer there, but you couldn't count on anything in particular. Is it still that way, or have they evolved into more of a full lineup?
This is a dangerous spot to wade into, but I'm going to anyway, so I apologize ahead of time if anyone thinks this is out of line.
I love Kate and Suzanne. I'll drive almost 2 hours there, partly to get beer I know isn't available anywhere else, and partly just to chat. They obviously created, then destroyed the mold on craft beer centered stores in this area, and not only do I fully support their plans to expand, I'm excited by it. Now here's the rub:
I happen to be the "beer guy" for BinEnds Wine in Braintree. If expansion is to include Quincy, they're competition. Which I welcome with open arms. Because, lets face it. Craft beer is big, and is only getting bigger. One store can't, and won't, be able to cater to every consumer's needs. What I take (slightly, mind you) issue with, is the idea that Braintree, Quincy, Weymouth areas are adrift in a craft beer wasteland. Someone already pumped my store, so I'll pump someone else: Ralph's in Hingham. Or how about Curtis in Weymouth. Maybe Old Colony or Supreme in Quincy. All are great stores, some more focused on craft beer than others, and all have fairly impressive craft beer selections. I've bought Life and Limb and Coton at Ralph's and I know Curtis has a heavy Allagash selection.
So, before you decide that there's nothing here, and your craft beer drinking life is over if CBC chooses Dedham over Quincy, try out the local shop. Find out who's responsible for the beer. Some of them (me, for example) will sit all day (regrettably not getting any work done!) and shoot the sh*t with you... Make suggestions, take suggestions. Try us out, maybe you won't need to drive 40 miles to Belmont once a week to grab a few bottles of Mystic, Maine, or Slumbrew.
But big thanks, and congrats to Kate, Suzanne, et al for the news. Whatever happens, it's still great for the scene!
Come see. We have over 100 labels now, heavily focused on MA based breweries, but including the standards like DFH, Stone, Alesmith, and Boulevard. What I will say we don't truly focus on is 6 pack/4 pack beers (with the obvious big name exceptions: Dogfish, Allagash) simply due to space. But like I said above, come talk to us, or any store, for that matter. The worst they can do is treat you like crap, and lose your business, right?
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