In April, a new state contract liquor agency opened in Massillon, Ohio. The Massillon Liquor Agency is the state’s first store to fully implement Ohio’s new branding—Ohio Liquor, or OHLQ—developed by the Ohio Division of Liquor Control. The new brand will roll out to more agencies across the state to replace the former “State Liquor Agency” name.
The 2,500-square-foot Massillon store, run by four employees, is connected to a Buehler’s Fresh Foods grocery store, though it also has a separate front entrance. With this setup, shoppers can get their groceries and spirits in one trip. While Buehler’s wine selection was fully transferred to the agency upon its opening, the supermarket keeps its beer department.
The Massillon Liquor Agency stocks 1,000 wine SKUs. The most popular offerings are local wines, which include Breitenbach Wine Cellars’ Roadhouse Red ($10 a 750-ml.) and Silver Moon Winery’s Starry White ($10). The store displays—but doesn’t stock—beers from Buehler’s selection of over 500 SKUs, usually focusing on local products from the likes of Great Lakes Brewing Co. and Fat Head’s Brewery. Over 500 spirits SKUs are offered, including Tito’s Handmade vodka ($35 a 1.75-liter) and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey ($22 a 750-ml.), as well as locally-made Minglewood Bourbon ($38) and Cleveland Black Reserve American Bourbon ($32).
Beer, wine, and spirits director Ron James says traffic is strong, partially due to the physical link with Buehler’s. “Buehler’s customers are seeing the entry into the liquor store and coming in on a whim—it’s definitely generated extra business,” he says.