Have you ever been reluctant to shop at a liquor store because of the bullet holes in their front window? Or have you avoided buying anything at a liquor store because the bottles on the shelf were so generic that they looked like they fell off the back of a truck in 1975? Or have you ever run out of a liquor store after seeing rats drinking a bottle of Smirnoff? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this article is for you. Here, nine signs that the liquor store you are in is actually worth shopping at.
People That Work There Actually Talk to You
If you’re greeted with silence or rudeness—and you get that “why is this person even talking to me?” look when you ask a question—chances are good that the liquor store owner (or their staff) could care less about you or your purchase or even about what they’re selling. You know a liquor store is different when the owners identify themselves, are happy to regale you with stories, or give you detailed recommendations for their favorite bottles and what to mix with them. They want your business and want you to come back more than once.
People That Work There Know the Difference Between Scotch and Bourbon
We’ll give them a break if they always spell whiskey with an ‘e,’ but a good liquor store will have an educated staff that will be able to help you with whatever you need or any questions that you need answered. Although you could probably get any answers with your phone, you can never replace the satisfaction of a good conversation with a real person. Even better yet is having a great bottle of booze in hand as the result of that discussion.
There Are Local Spirits There
Awareness of the local distilling scene and who is producing alcohol nearby isn’t just a matter of survival for a liquor store. It also shows that a store’s owners care about their community and want to support it. While some people don’t care where their liquor comes from or who is making it, we find that liquor stores with a broader selection of local spirits are better than those without. It shows a commitment to craft and quality, and a passion for finding unique spirits.
You Can Buy a $300 Bottle of Cognac or a $10 Bottle of Vodka
Sometimes you’re feeling fancy. Sometimes you aren’t. A good liquor store will be able to accomodate all moods.
There Are Shelf Talkers
If you don’t know what shelf talkers are, they are the little pieces of cardboard or laminated paper, usually taped onto the shelf, that describe a spirit or bottle of wine and indicate what it tastes like. Shelf talkers take time and effort (maybe even a little humor) to make and are another sign that the owners care about what they are selling. If your liquor store has a variety of shelf talkers to accompany their spirits selection, you are in a high-grade shop. You should seriously consider becoming a regular—especially if the shelf talkers include jokes or liquor-inspired puns.
They Do Tastings
If a liquor store regularly holds tastings, it shows that the owners are invested in the products that they are selling and the producers that make them. It also shows that they have a direct relationship with producers and want to be better educated on the products that they provide. But, best of all, you get to taste new spirits or wines before you buy them.
There’s No Raccoons Behind the Fireball
OK, it doesn’t need to get that bad—raccoons do like whiskey though. But if you enter a liquor store that’s covered in dust and dirt (and potential trash pandas)—whether that dirt is on the bottles themselves or the floor—chances are the owners don’t care about you or what you’re buying. It’s like having a blind date show up to dinner wearing a stained T-shirt and sweatpants. They didn’t make an effort because they really don’t care about you or anyone else.
There’s No Bulletproof Glass
If there’s bulletproof glass, or even worse, bulletproof glass that has bullet holes and scars from attacks—run, don’t walk, out of there.