BevMo! opened a new 10,000 square foot store at 17197 Southcenter Pkwy in Tukwila this morning. This will provide local beverage lovers a selection of thousands of wines, spirits, and beers, as well as gourmet food items, cocktail mixers, glassware, bar accessories and helpful advice.
I stopped in there a couple hours after opening (I hate crowds) and took a self-guided tour of the place. I love bottle shops, and this is not in any way like a bottle shop except for the array of beers on the shelves. I visited incognito with some of the floor staff, many of whom were from the Tacoma location and corporate headquarters. BevMo! is based in California and has 120+ locations there and throughout Arizona.
There was only one guy helping out in the beer area that I saw while I was there, Mike. He was enthusiastic and passionate about the products and seemed to know the difference between a lager and an ale.
As far a selection goes, I was pretty impressed. Lots of the old favorites and several new ones I had not seen before in local shops. Beers from all over the world. And a very tiny stack of “domestic” big brewery beers. Probably the best selection of Sam Adams beers in one place that I have seen before.
There were many popular Washington beers that were not on shelves yet, primarily because those brewers self-distribute and have not gone through (or chose not to go through?) the paperwork needed to get a shelf spot. They have growler fill stations of 10-12 different local beers (you can bring in your own empty growler, or buy an empty one of theirs for $8.99 – the cost to fill a growler varies), sell kegs of a limited numbers of brands, and will have beer tasting events from 4-7 pm every Friday.
It is a bit confusing to find a particular beer there. I studied the end cap signs and scratched my head why Hefeweizens were placed next to Imperial Stouts. And the Alaskan Stout was next to the Alaskan White, but the Alaskan Amber was a couple of rows away. If you are dying of thirst and have to have a cold one fast, they have a cooler with a comparably small number of 22 ouncers and six-packs of the bigger sellers. Most of the beer is out on the room temperature floor. Not necessarily a bad thing.
One huge drawback is that they do not sell single bottles of 12 ounce beers (4-pack or 6-packs only). If you see a beer you might like to try, you gotta buy six of them. They also do not let your create your own 6-pack of mixed beers. So for me, if I am doing a horizontal tasting of say six Russian Imperial Stouts, or six harvest/oktoberfest ales, I would be better off to go to The Beer Junction in West Seattle or 99 Bottles in Federal Way where I can get one bottle from each of six different breweries.
The prices are very good though, and they have ClubBev! where you can earn points on your purchases for a 5% savings after 250 points. They will be opening locations in Bellevue and Northgate in the next few months. You can also order from them online at www.bevmo.com.
They also sell wine, spirits, snack foods (chips, meats and cheeses), glassware and cigars – but I don’t care about any of that. Show me the BEER! They also like to use asterisks a lot! I kind of like that!!! Don’t you?!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m sure I will go back there again soon, but it won’t replace my other favorite haunts.