Oct. 1, 2014 By Christian Murray
A new store that plans to offer as many as 400 domestic and foreign beers is expected to open on 51st Avenue next week.
The Beer Closet, located at 5-37 51st Avenue, will be selling bottles and cans from across the globe. It will sell five craft beers by the growler, a number that will grow over time.
The Beer Closet will initially sell about 150 different beers and will ramp-up the number in coming months. Initially, the owner will sell cheese and chocolate—items that the owner said goes with beer.
The business is owned by Mario Cruz, who has worked at Vernon Wine & Liquor for the past 2 years. Cruz, a 32-year-old former marine, got the idea for the store after many customers would walk into the liquor store also requesting beer.
The owners of Vernon Wine & Liquor will be advising Cruz on how to operate the business and will be offering joint loyalty programs—where points accumulated at one store can be redeemed at the other.
Cruz said that in the first year the focus will be on developing the retail operation.
However, next year he would like to have a bar/tasting area at the back of the store with the possibility of opening the rear yard. Cruz, however, said recently that he would monitor the discussions concerning backyard use to see whether that it is a viable option.
The retail store will be cut off from the potential bar/tasting space—via a wall. There will be access through to the rear space via French doors. The owner has created the partition since a separate space is needed for the bar/tasting area in order to get a liquor license.
A grand opening party has been tentatively planned for Saturday, Oct. 18.
Meanwhile, Vernon Wine & Liquor has been undergoing a significant makeover. The back of the store—where the wine is kept—has been completely revamped. The front area is also undergoing change—with plans for a new awning.
“We want to be known for being a wine shop as opposed to a liquor store,” said Vanessa Conway, the store manager, whose fiance is a co-owner of the store. “We will keep offering all the basics… but will pay more attention on wine.”