The results of the Favorite Rhode Island Beer Store [FRIBS] poll are in! There were 2083 votes cast for 34 stores in six regions. Thanks to all the B&C readers who clicked through to support the packies! [We’ve “reopened” the poll so you can see all of the nominees, in case you missed ’em last week].
But before we announce the FRIBS Mix-A-Six of Honorees, we’re going to dip into the Bottles & Cans archive and excerpt a few entries from “Shelf life: Building the best beer store,” which ran in the 4.4.12 edition of the late, lamented Providence Phoenix. All of the esteemed FRIBS nominees are committed to stepping up their beer game day in/day out, and many fulfill the “Shelf life” suggestions.
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We spend a lot of time in liquor stores (hey, it’s in the job description). And we spend way too much time thinking about what would constitute The Best Beer Store. Here’s the list of the features that add up to Retail Beer Bliss.
Too many beer sections are a haphazard mess. And with the proliferation of new brands and releases, and the limits of shelf/cooler/walk-in space, that’s understandable: “Hey, just squeeze this in over there!” It’s better to have a plan. Many stores group beers geographically: New England, East Coast, West Coast, Europe, etc.
BIGGER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER
There are a lot of beers out there. If you want to peruse a Vast Array of Beer — perhaps a Confoundingly Astounding Beer Selection — head to the superstores. But a well-chosen and varied selection at smaller stores is usually all you need. Be true to your local stores for go-to favorites, and save the immense beer immersion trips for the weekends.
SPOTLIGHT THE NEW
There are new brands and releases every week. But too many stores make the new stuff difficult to find (“Hey, just squeeze this in over there!”). Most beer geeks know what’s coming out, but folks who are curious about craft offerings will be attracted by the word “NEW!” (it’s Pavlovian). The better stores have a shelf/rack/table/area trumpeting their “NEW!” Arrivals. The “Aha!” moment when you spy the hidden treasure can be invigorating, but getting “NEW!” beer shouldn’t devolve into a game of Where’s Waldo?
MIX IT UP
Mix-a-sixes are superb: you can sample new releases, delve into unexplored styles, reunite with an old fave, etc. More stores should add the option [hint, hint]…And the ever-increasing array of variety 12-packs are a win-win — cutting costs and doing the mixing for you [bonus: some beers are exclusive to 12-packs].
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And now [drumroll, please], we proudly present the winners of the Favorite Rhode Island Beer Store poll:
Blackstone Valley: B&C LIQUORS
Providence/Cranston: HIGH SPIRITS
Kent County: HAXTON’S LIQUORS [Rt 2, Warwick]
East Bay: GRAPES & GRAINS
Aquidneck Island: SANDY’S LIQUORS
South County: WYOMING PACKAGE STORE
We reached out to a few folks for an “acceptance speech.” Here are two of them [we’ll update the post if more trickle in]:
“From the entire staff at Grapes & Grains, thank you for voting us as your favorite East Bay beer store. We are constantly striving to grow our selection; reintroduce people to old favorites, dig up hidden gems, and hope to bring as much great beer to the East Bay as possible. We are passionate about what we do here, and are incredibly thankful for our customers who let us share our passion. Cheers!”
“B&C Liquors would like to thank everyone that voted. All of the craft beer stores deserve a round of applause. It’s not easy for any of us with the ever-growing craft beer industry. Thank you to our amazing and supportive customer base. We’re proud to be categorized as one of the top craft beers stores in the state and pleased to be part of the craft beer revolution.”
Cheers to the Sensational Six — and all of the nominees! The beer lovers of Rhode Island thank you for stepping up your beer game — day in/day out…