Video: Inside new West Seattle liquor store, opening tomorrow

August 30, 2011 at 4:06 pm | In West Seattle news, WS beverages | 30 Comments

The new West Seattle Junction liquor store opens 10 am tomorrow – after the old one closes at 9 pm tonight. Judging by what we saw during a drop-by-and-take-photos media preview today, it’s ready to go already. Our video, above, is a casual walkthrough, looking at the shelves and shelves … and shelves … of bottles, not to mention the “open cooler” of craft beer (including many Washington brands):

This isn’t just a new liquor store; it’s the state’s first “premier” store, and Liquor Control Board officials were up from Olympia, bursting with pride. They are also trying to make a major point – boosting the selection of brands in the wake of voter rejection of liquor privatization, in hopes of showing you can have a monopoly and still be customer-sensitive. Molly Wheeler is the manager, a 14-year LCB employee who says running this store is a dream come true, and explains more about what it’s offering:

The store concept isn’t all that’s new – the state is about to start offering liquor-tasting events, and the first one at this store is this Saturday, 4-6 pm; they’ll have tastings every week, same time (this month’s schedule, including the list of what’s offered for tasting, is here). The store is at 41st/Alaska in Capco Plaza, same building as QFC and the future home of another business moving from elsewhere in The Junction, Petco, which will be next to the liquor store on the lower level at the same corner.

30 Comments

  1. So which corner of the building will this store be in — and which is the recommended parking level, the upper QFC lot or the lower (or should one simply enter from the street)?

    Comment by ScotchFan — 4:29 pm August 30, 2011 #

  2. It may be a nice looking store, but it’s still kind of ridiculous that if you want to buy the ingredients for, say, a gin & tonic, you’ve got to go to one store to buy the gin and another to get the tonic. If the state truly wanted to be responsive to customers, as they claim, they’d also sell non-alcoholic mixers and garnishes. I’m definitely voting to get the state out of the liquor biz.

    Comment by Gilman — 5:19 pm August 30, 2011 #

  3. I am very excited to have another draw to this neighborhood. It should do very well

    Comment by jill — 5:20 pm August 30, 2011 #

  4. So the state now will have to fork out probably way more for their lease. I sure hope business picks up to pay the increase in the lease costs

    Comment by clark5080 — 5:30 pm August 30, 2011 #

  5. Wow – Vast improvement.

    Comment by Robert2715 — 5:37 pm August 30, 2011 #

  6. It’s at 41st and Alaska which is the southeast corner of the building; the corner I will be walking past on my way to the Beer Junction for my craft beer needs. Personally I don’t care for the idea of state government setting up shop around the corner from and in direct competition with local merchants (though after seeing the photo of the LCB beer case it looks more like competition for QFC’s very average selection than Beer Junction’s vast range).

    Comment by austin — 6:02 pm August 30, 2011 #

  7. Great store but it would seem to have a limited future with the pending second initiative.
    -
    It is strange to see deathbed conversion for the WSLCB in favor of selection and maybe…customer service. I’d prefer the state stay in the liquor store business rather than sell it out — once again, Costco isn’t spending my membership dollars to support private liquor stores because it is a better deal for the state.
    -
    My two cents.

    Comment by JayDee — 6:03 pm August 30, 2011 #

  8. Hmmmmm with specialty beer and wines they seem to be directly competitive with local West Seattle businesses I’m not sure that I like that or that it makes sense.

    Comment by see it clearly — 6:09 pm August 30, 2011 #

  9. If you pause the video at the right moment in the tequila section you will see the little spot my brother Jack and I have carved out for our new home. Looking forward to getting moved in and settled for some drinkin’

    Comment by Bob Loblaw — 6:27 pm August 30, 2011 #

  10. Can’t wait for the PETCO at CAPCO! Then the trifecta will be complete!

    Comment by Noelle — 6:28 pm August 30, 2011 #

  11. Sounds nice, but I’ll keep purchasing all my specialty & locally handcrafted beer, ciders, etc.. at the Junctions only independently owned beer store located just across the street. At Beer Junction. They are super friendly and eager to help you discover your newest favorite.
    Beer Junction Rocks!! They have a ton tastings each month- You can find the schedule on their website. Go to Beer Junction! You won’t regret it-

    Comment by Westbird — 6:45 pm August 30, 2011 #

  12. For really great craft beer selection with friendly, knowledgeable service, see Morgan at The Beer Junction. Right across the street until they move 2 blocks away. Mmmmm, beer!

    Comment by wsguy — 6:57 pm August 30, 2011 #

  13. Austin: Spot on with the comment about WSLCB beer competition being QFC.

    Comment by wsguy — 6:59 pm August 30, 2011 #

  14. Whoopie doo…

    Comment by Jiggers — 7:10 pm August 30, 2011 #

  15. I meant to mention again that, as reported here a while back, The Beer Junction will be taking over part of the liquor store’s old space! Thanks for the reminder.
    .
    PS – Re: store access, I didn’t recall seeing another door when I was at the store this afternoon. I checked with Brian Smith of the LCB to be sure I hadn’t missed anything – I hadn’t. He says you can park in the garage and go down to street level and enter the store from there, but you do have to enter the store from its front door, accessible right on the NW corner of 41st/Alaska. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 7:25 pm August 30, 2011 #

  16. Ole! Tequila! Bob & Jack I’d be happy to house sit your happy little home for you!

    Comment by JW — 8:25 pm August 30, 2011 #

  17. “I’m definitely voting to get the state out of the liquor biz.”

    AMEN BROTHER!

    Comment by blake — 9:11 pm August 30, 2011 #

  18. at the risk of beating a dead Raineeeeeeer beeeeeeeer can to death, by ‘accessible’ do you mean ‘wheelchair accessible’ or ‘easily available to the person passing by’ or both?

    Comment by metrognome — 9:20 pm August 30, 2011 #

  19. Metro – I am doublechecking the photos I shot and will be adding to the story before night’s end as a “more pix after the jump” add-on. Absent any nuances of which I am ignorant, it appears to be wheelchair-accessible – the building’s entry door to the passageway from which you reach both the liquor store and Petco entrances is flush with the sidewalk, no stairs, so at least from street parking, it appears to be ADA-compliant. Not sure about the elevator method of access – I haven’t shopped that QFC in a while, I’m thinking they have to have ramp access in front as well as the stairs, so theoretically the path would be parking garage to elevator to ramp to sidewalk and then down the block to the entrance for the liquor store … TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:50 pm August 30, 2011 #

  20. They should sell medical MJ there too while they’re at it. You should also be able to buy OTC pain relievers for hangovers etc. Oh, and condoms and lube, etc. Toss in some nice high thread count sheets and oysters on the half shell. And perhaps a counter selling Justin’s new “Someday” perfume.

    Comment by doggydodo — 10:01 pm August 30, 2011 #

  21. Hopefully, over time, the shelves of the various delicious brown liquors from the world over, full of character, style and subtlety, will push aside some of the many, many, many shelves of vodka, which is basically nothing more than an inebriant.

    I’ll keep buying my beer/ciders at Beer Jct., and my wine at Bin 41/W. Sea. Cellars/Wine Outlet/Esquin (unless the WSLS has a screaming deal on some Wa. wine, which they sometimes do, and I happen to be in there and in the mood at the time). Those places REALLY aren’t going to take a hit from the new store in any case. Get serious.
    The last time I bought beer at a WSLCB store, it was the only place to get Old English “800″,
    and I still drank Old English “800″.
    Both a looong time ago.
    People buying beer at liquor stores aren’t regulars at places like Beer Jct., but maybe after they gain a taste for decent beer and are looking for something special, they will BECOME customers of Beer Jct.
    Beer Jct. regulars aren’t suddenly going to say, “I sure am tired of the huge selection here, I think I’ll go somewhere else and let THEM make the decision for me.”

    I think some of you folks don’t know how to do anything but complain. It’s as though you want everything to stay exactly the same as it was the day you moved here, or as you remember it while growing up.
    Well, guess what….

    Comment by dawsonct — 12:58 am August 31, 2011 #

  22. The liquor store isn’t competition for Beer Junction and The Bin… It’s the other way around. People who want to explore GOOD beer & wine will not shop here; liquor store is just a grab n’go from surly state employees. BJ and Bin have nothing to worry about. After the novelty wears off the LCB’s lipstick on a pig concept, things will go back to “normal”.

    Comment by WS — 9:04 am August 31, 2011 #

  23. Come on people… did you forget that prior to the liquor store opening in this location it was on California next to the Radio Shack?

    This is nothing new, just a better customer experience. It’s not a plot or competition against local business any more than has already existed.

    This is progress IMHO. If the state wants to stay in business (as a monopoly), they better do something. Else consumers will vote for a retailer who WILL give the customers what they want: more selection, lower prices, a better shopping experience.

    I’m hopeful that the state is a good tenant and polices the potential for bottles, cans and the like in the immediate vicinity.

    Comment by Chaz Thompson — 1:24 pm August 31, 2011 #

  24. I think the liquor store’s new digs were intended to expand the selection of liquor more than they intended the beer and wine. You can’t beat the selection and the knowledge at the Beer Junction, and I don’t think there is anything to worry about. Besides, I would rather pay a little more at a “local” business before I do the state. I will continue to get my strong hooch from the government (because I have to) and my beer and wine from the specialists, thank you very much. :-)

    Comment by NotMe — 1:34 pm August 31, 2011 #

  25. State controlled stores aside, I think this one looks great! I was in the newish Sodo store over the weekend and was pleasantly surprised at the expanded availability of products over other store sites. Methinks this one will be even better!

    Speaking of mixers…does anyone have a handle on where Fever Tree tonic may be sold locally?

    Comment by Bianca — 2:39 pm August 31, 2011 #

  26. I just checked it out and am quite pleased with the expanded choices heretofore unavailable in West Seattle, or even in most of Seattle. $2200+ for a bottle of Louis XIII cognac, 100 year old Grand Marnier, etc. Great selection of Northwest wines, and Oregon’s Clear Creek Distillery. I’m disappointed in the little, if any, French wine selection, so Bin 41 need not fear. Same goes for the generic selection of microbrews, so Beer Junction will be fine as well. Quite a treat to have such a great store right here in little ole West Seattle. Yea!

    Comment by RPH — 4:46 pm August 31, 2011 #

  27. Bianca,
    Whole Foods has Fever Tree tonic. I have also ordered it from Amazon. I haven’t checked Met Market but they might. If they don’t they might order it for you.

    Comment by stb — 9:42 pm August 31, 2011 #

  28. I’m worried that this is a direct shot across the bow of a great beer seller. Well I’m not buying into it. I will stay true and support the store whose customer service has always been impeccable. Plus, they’re never closed. Viva la 7-11!

    Comment by Gunnerddog — 8:59 am September 1, 2011 #

  29. Thanks for the note RPH, I’ve been intending to refresh my stock of Louis XII.
    All joking aside, if anyone out there DOES have that bottle, would you PLEASE invite me over for just a little, tiny taste? I would like to know what I would get if I was willing to pay about $2120 more than I’ve ever payed for a bottle.
    I’ll trade some home-made jam for it!

    Comment by dawsonct — 12:38 pm September 1, 2011 #

  30. beer and wine selection can not be out done by the qfc upstairs and qfc does wine tastings every fri, sat and sun but now when i buy my hard alcohol for parties all i have to do is run upstairs to qfc for my mixers and all the food.

    makes things convienient

    Comment by joe — 10:33 am September 2, 2011 #

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