Booze in a Box
The Next Wave of Mega Liquor Stores Arrives
Total Wine and More expands to Tukwila, a giant beer store makes inroads in Renton, and Bevmo! sets its sights on a Ballard address.
Now that the booze-buying public is getting more comfortable shopping for locally made gin and handles of cheap whiskey in actual stores (aka, establishments that don't resemble a DMV), another wave of big-box booze stores is hitting the state.
Yesterday, Total Wine and More announced an official opening date of September 20 for its new store in Tukwila, at 300 Andover Park W across from Southcenter Mall. Celebratory tastings and live music will run through October 4.
The chain of more than 80 stores nationwide opened its first Washington location this summer in Bellevue, and the newest arrival will also have a massive selection of 8,000 wines, 3,000 types of spirits, and 2,500 beers. The store positions itself as having the biggest selection of Washington-made hooch in town; according to the press release, the Tukwila store will stock 1,450 local wines, more than 55 spirits from Washington and Oregon, and more than 540 beers from the region. More stores are destined for Alderwood, Federal Way, Olympia, Silverdale, and the Couv. Our September issue features a breakdown of how Total Wine and More stacks up against fellow new arrival Bevmo! and the lone homegrown booze superstore, Wine World and Spirits.
Right now, Wine World is currently the only such store inside Seattle city limits, though I can't help but notice that Bevmo! has filed a liquor license application for 840 NW 45th Street, at the highly trafficked intersection with Leary Way.
Meanwhile, Washington beer blogger Kendall Jones got some hush-hush indicators that World of Beer has a franchise in the works in Renton. While the name, and the website, call to mind World of Warcraft, the store is actually a combination bar and beer store. There are usually games, though unlike WOW, these are the type that encourage interacting in person. This would be the first World of Beer on the West Coast. A recently opened store in Wisconsin has 40 taps, serves beer-based cocktails, and plays live music on the weekends.
As Jones notes, our newly privatized status means "we live in a target-rich environment." The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that Washington residents are "pouring over the Oregon line" to buy liquor at lower prices, and that every state that shares our borders leaves its alcohol sales to the government. But here in Seattle, the nearest state line is three hours away, and liquor certainly isn't cheaper in Canada. So you can bet these won't be the last spirits megastores we see in our area.