Hybrid Retail Concept Debuts In Florida
Offering a wide product selection, two in-store bars and a catering kitchen, Paradise Wine opened in October in Naples, Florida. The new concept from real estate executives Leigh Benoliel and Blaine East combines retail sales with additional amenities, such as sommelier consultations, a private event space and a rotating schedule of tastings and classes. “It’s a full-service scenario different from the typical retail store,” East says. “We want people to have a great experience so they’ll come back.” Paradise has roughly 1,200 spirits SKUs ranging from $7.99 a 750-ml. bottle of Karkov vodka to $2,700 for Louis XIII de Rémy Martin Cognac. The store’s 2,200-plus wine SKUs include budget selections, such as Entrada Malbec ($5.50 a 750-ml. bottle), as well as high-end offerings like Château Pétrus ($4,800). A temperature-controlled cellar houses exclusive wines and offers private lockers for customers. Beer SKUs top 600 offerings, from Bud Light ($6.49 a six-pack of bottles) to Scaldis Prestige de Nuits ($49.99 a 750-ml. bottle). Since many homes in the area are secondary residences, Paradise caters to both out-of-town visitors and year-round locals. The store has two bars—the full-service Shaken, offering cocktails, 14 craft beers on tap and 24 wines by the glass, and a more intimate wine tasting bar. A 3,000-square-foot patio features live music, and customers can enjoy small bites prepared in Paradise’s kitchen. There’s a concierge desk positioned by the entrance where customers can talk to a sommelier or arrange for one-on-one consultations at home. The store also regularly hosts tastings, educational seminars and other special events. “Offering those amenities really separates us from the big-box wine stores,” Benoliel says. In addition, Paradise has a walk-in humidor and sells gourmet food, mixers, accessories and glassware. Benoliel and East plan to expand the concept, with the aim of opening three to four additional stores along Florida’s Gulf Coast over the next five years.
Craft Spirits E-Commerce Site Launches
An online platform dedicated to craft spirits launched in October. Craft Spirits Exchange (CSX) provides original and aggregated editorial content about craft spirits, along with an e-commerce marketplace that features over 800 spirits offerings. “We emphasize content and telling the stories of the brands,” says founder and CEO Luis Troccoli. “It benefits both the brands by engaging with consumers and the consumers by providing them with good information.” He notes that CSX helps craft producers expand their reach. “A brand might have great on-premise presence, but limited off-premise distribution,” he explains. “Our goal is to build a network for efficiency and access for consumers across the country.” Rather than selling products directly, CSX partners with local retailers to fulfill orders placed through its platform. Products can currently be purchased and shipped to 39 states, and Troccoli aims to continue adding retail partners throughout the country to increase selection. CSX users are encouraged to create accounts to rate and review products, and the company may eventually roll out a preferred members’ program.
Connecticut’s BevMax Adds Danbury Unit
Market Watch Leader Michael Berkhoff opened a 12th location of BevMax in Danbury, Connecticut, in October. Measuring 15,000 square feet, it’s the chain’s largest unit to date and features over 6,500 SKUs across beer, wine and spirits. Wines range from such budget offerings as Tisdale Merlot ($4.59 a 750-ml. bottle) to premium labels like Opus One ($679.99 a 1.5-liter bottle for the 2010 vintage). BevMax emphasizes artisanal spirits and beers, featuring such brands as East Hartford’s Onyx moonshine ($29.93 a 750-ml. bottle) and New York’s Hudson Baby Bourbon ($51.99). The store’s craft beer offerings include such local brands as Stratford’s Two Roads Brewing Co. and Stamford’s Half Full Brewery (craft beer averages $7.99 to $10.99 a six-pack of bottles). Like other BevMax stores, the Danbury unit offers tastings several days a week, as well as classes in beer, wine and spirits. Berkhoff will open a new BevMax location in Stamford, Connecticut, by the end of this month.