Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Total Threat to Local Liquor Stores

Hey, westsiders. Looks like you've finally got something to brag about. Albuquerque's first Total Wine and More is now open over there in that mess of stores near the Cottonwood Mall, in the former Borders location. Shelves filled with alcohol is much more purposeful use of retail space than one filled with books, I've always said. Read blogs, not books.

The first thing upon entering the massive liquor store was the kiosks of mini bottles. Silly Total Wine and More...don't you know this is Albuquerque? You might as well put up a sign saying, "Steal me!" There were too many corporate types there for me to grab more than a handful of Midori and Yukon Jack. That's right, many of the Total Wine higher-ups came to town dressed in their best 3-pieces. I didn't really talk to any of them. I find that as soon as I say, "Well, I have a blog" their eyes dart around looking for someone to save them.

Besides, I wanted to see what their beer selection was like. Pretty impressive, especially the prices. At least a dollar cheaper on most six-packs than other places in town, and only $7.99 for La Cumbre Elevated IPA! There were also beers that were making their New Mexico debut (not sure if other stores will get them). I noticed beers from Diamond Knot, Flying Fish, Humboldt, Scuttlebutt, Pike, and Clown Shoes (picked up their Luchador en Fuego, a chili spice barrel aged Imperial Stout). Most of the offerings are not refrigerated, and I was surprised that bottle dates showed that not every beer was the freshest released, so keep an eye out for older beers there.

Nice spread, huh? I must say, the Total Wine people were very generous with all the free catered food and Gruet sparking wine pours. Also nice were the gift bags with the $10 gift cards in them. Since this is a chain store and is new, of course the people came out in droves. But I don't think the crowds will dissipate anytime soon- the beer selection is very good and the wine and liquor sections go on forever. It's definitely a store worth checking out.


Unknown said...

That's kind of sad. I'm currently in the process of helping my friend get a liquor store license in California, and I would so hate if it were a waste of time. Thanks for sharing, hopefully things turn out better for them.

Dorkasaurus said...

It was okay to visit but not a place that will get most of my business. The location is awful (for me) and the beer selection seemed way less than their self proclaimed average of 2,500 beers per store. Prices were good but saving $1 on a six pack isn't really compelling enough for me to put up with the cluster#$@# known as Cottonwood.

It was not busy at all this afternoon but I suggest avoiding it on weekends if you just have to see it.

ABQbeergeek said...

The location does me no good either. And I think the 2,500 beers must mean the beers they get distributed in total to stores here and in other states. I don't think of it as a beer destination by any means, but I do like the sheer inventory of wine and liquor that one of their stores holds. It's really going to impact Trader Joe's when the Uptown Total Wine opens.

Gnsalazar1334 said...

Total is just as limited as everyone else who sells beer in NM. Don't expect to see anything miraculously appear onthe shelves there that you can't find anywhere else in town. The exception; winery/brewery direct items. These are all of the private label items that Total contracts out on and where they make their real profit. The crazy at cost deals you see on some recognized brand items are feasable by the big margins they make on these. God business move if gou have the financial backing to create your own branding to offset not making much off your loss leaders. Just remember that your local liquor store owner cannot possibly operate this way. It is another one of those situations of supporting your locals( who operate as well as they can and give you the deals they can afford without having a private label margin builder) or buying from a multi state juggernaut who can operate on a business model that the locals cannot.

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