Monthly archives "June"

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Four Firkins Closing

Last night I learned with the rest of you that Four Firkins is closing. Now, it’s not often that we take time to talk about our competition let alone sing them praise, but in this case it is well deserved. I’m not friends with the Firkins crew- I know Alvey only in passing. We’ve worked together on Sunday sales and we’ve bumped shoulders competitively a couple of times. So this isn’t an endorsement of my buddy by any means.

I’ve been in the retail liquor business for just over 10 years and had followed a relatively tried and true model. When I started hearing grumblings of this specialty store in St. Louis Park, it piqued my interest and as more and more of my customers were getting into craft beer I heard more and more about the Firkins. I never made the actual trip to see them until the new store opened and immediately a light turned on in my head. Taking a creative retail approach to this business really hadn’t been done in the cities. I traveled around the country and observed other concepts that were executed similarly brilliant and that light in my head turned to a strobe.

“Head into the light!”

Alvey was a trailblazer with this concept. Sure, in the postmortem you can dissect every wrong business decision he made, but unless you are in his shoes, you can’t ever understand the complexity of issues that led to their closure. This is a note simply to thank Alvey for raising the bar for the competition, recognize the Firkins concept for it’s originality and wish all the best going forward.

Gift Card Redemption
The gift card issue seems to be sticking in people’s craw- understandably so. To lessen the pain for those stuck holding the cards and to turn some people on to a great alternative, Ace Spirits will be offering $10 in store credit for any Four Firkins Gift Card. Sure, there are some limits- You need to make at least a $40 purchase, we will need to keep the card, we limit it to one card per person per day and we reserve the right to terminate this program at any time. But, you’ll get a little something where you otherwise might have none.

Anyhoo… A sad day for the beer community and the Twin Cities as a whole.

Oak by Absolut- Vodka? Whiskey? Whisky?

“I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”
-Humphrey Bogart’s last words

Oak by AbsolutMinneapolis is one of three markets where Absolut has launched Oak– a vodka aged six months in new oak and of course, we had to bring it in. But Absolut Oak begs the question- is this vodka? Is this whiskey? Frankly, the release somewhat bothers me as it blurs category lines that can already be a bit confusing.

Oak by Absolut is made from wheat and distilled to a proof higher than allowable to be considered whiskey. Aside from that, it looks and tastes like a very light whiskey. It’s certainly not the worst I’ve tasted, but I’d take a bottle of Booker’s over this any day. Oak by Absolut was launched with the intention of bringing vodka drinkers into the whiskey category. While we love to get people turned on to whiskey here, I’m not sure we want vodka drinkers raiding our increasingly scarce supplies, but I suppose if they stick to this, we’ll be good. 😉

I’m curious to hear what you think about this… Anyone?

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