Enjoy the Parade, They are Coming

Folks, we live in a target-rich environment. They are gunning for us and I cannot blame them. That statement probably makes them sound more predatory and less opportunistic, but rest assured that they are coming.

My last post was about the World of Beer franchise that is apparently going to open in Renton. World of Beer is a big (relative term) franchise operation out of Florida, with 30-something locations scattered across the South East and the Mid West. As of yet, no locations west of Tempe, Arizona. Nearest I can tell, World of Beer locations are beer bars, sports bars, music venues, and bottleshops. Maybe something like a beer-themed Hard Rock Cafe. By all indications, they’re now coming to the Seattle area. Why wouldn’t they?

World of Beer is different than the other big-box booze shops that have come to town recently (Total Wine, BevMo). I’m not sure it is fare to clump them in with the others. As far as I can tell, World of Beer is not a liquor retailer. Still, because they are an out-of-state operation, they will likely get grouped with the rest of them. So, I suppose there is reason to consider World of Beer to be part of they.

Ten months ago, the debate was furious. I’m talking about Initiative 1183 — the liquor privatization initiative. The people of Washington voted and the new law is the result. It no longer matters which side was right or wrong. It is what it is. Let’s keep the lid on that can of worms.

Back when we were debating Initiative 1183, we were all told that they would be coming. We were told that they were waiting at the border. Viola! Less than a year later, Total Wine & More is now here, with a huge and lovely store in Bellevue. Likewise, Beverage & More (BevMo) is here, with locations in Silverdale and Tacoma. BevMo recently announced plans to open a third location — a 12,000 square foot retail space in downtown Bellevue. I’d guess Liquor Barn is next. And now World of Beer, which I assume will be a franchise owned by a local businessperson.

My point is this: we should not be surprised to hear news that one of the big boys is coming to town. We are going to hear more and more of it. The big-box alcohol stores have their reasons for coming here (recent changes in the law). The big franchise beer joints, like World of Beer, have their reasons for coming here (we drink a hell of lot of craft beer around Seattle).

If you don’t like the new law, and the invasion it has spawned, then continue to shop for beer at your local, privately owned bottleshop. I am always in favor of supporting local businesses. When you want to pick up a couple bottles of something good, go down the street to 99 Bottles (blog sponsor) and do not make the roadtrip to Tacoma. If you want to fill a growler in West Seattle, go to The Beer Junction (blog sponsor) and don’t trek to Bellevue.

As far as out-of-state franchises coming to town is concerned, I’ll say this: as the popularity of craft beer continues to grow, we should expect to see more businesses like World of Beer grow and succeed. Not just here in Washington, but everywhere. As the tide of craft beer continues to rise, so will all the boats floating upon the sea.

Of course, you should support local, privately owned businesses. I really don’t think you need me to tell you to do that. I believe you will. Our beloved bottleshops are like beer boutiques: it is not just about saving 50 cents on a six pack. Our beloved beer bars are more than places to drink: it is not just about how many beers they have on tap.

So relax and try to enjoy the parade. They are coming. Good, bad, or whatever, they are coming.


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  1. Great they are your (blog sponser)but business is business and Total Wines is fantastic for both selection and more importantly –price. They can’t be beat –yet.

  2. Great outlook on the supporting small local business. It should go for all shopping not just for beer or wine. Thanks!

  3. Business is business and if they (big box stores) have the selection + price = look out boutique alc stores–want quality + price for my hard earned buck!!!!!

  4. I have visited a world of beer in North Carolina about a year ago. They are closer to what the taphouse or the new yard house will be modeled after. A good deal of draft beer and some in bottled for consumption. Mostly average bar staff that don’t really have a clue about what they are serving, and offering frequent buyer cards for repeat business. I believe they did offer growlers to go, however they they definitely were not a retail outlet as total wine is. overall it’s a great place to visit but not a destination.

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