Category Archive: The Beer Business

Notes on running a small business, a specialty bottle shop, and navigating the regulated industry of alcohol sales.

Feb 16

Allow Beer & Wine Specialty shops to sell Washington craft spirits – SB 5731

Weekly I’m asked, by customers, “How has the privatization of liquor affected you?” My fellow specialty beer & wine store owners say they frequently hear the same question. Most of us are pretty open. One wine shop owner says they’re “hurting, looking at location lease-end dates, wondering about renegotiation to continue to struggle and possibly …

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Feb 07

Life as a ‘legal drug dealer’

I sat in the backseat, my brother next to me. Mom, driving. Dad in the passenger seat. The year was 2007. It was winter and we were heading North, to the home of Auntie & Uncle for a Christmastime celebration. I was sharing stories about building our beer store, of this great beverage coined “craft …

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Jan 31

For the love of beer

Earlier this week I made a proclamation on my facebook page: Yesterday I realized what my New Years Resolution should be: To rediscover joy. After I spoke at a conference last year, a person in the audience commented on my “frustration.” Yesterday I read an article that cited me as “arguing” a point. I have become more cynical. I am tired. …

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Jan 28

I’m the Martha

Perhaps it’s due to the looming Easter holiday*, but I’ve been thinking a lot about Martha and Mary lately. Do you remember these ladies from the bible story, where Jesus is due to visit and Martha is busy preparing the setting, the meal, everything. Martha drops it all to go be social. Martha continues on …

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Nov 06

Paparazzi? Stress level: 8.5

I don’t know if other small businesses experience this kind of thing, but here is something we deal with on a regular basis… “The Paparazzi.” By this, I mean competitors who come into your shop with the sole intent of taking notes and photos of your products and pricing.

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Sep 07

An open letter to my merchant service provider

Merchant processing. If you’re in the business of selling anything these days, you’ve got to have a merchant service. Few people carry cash; most are reliant on their debit and credit cards to buy things, including beer.

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Aug 30

A wedding with beer: Don’t think of your reception as a kegger

Working in a specialty beer shop means consulting about beer: providing guidance to get people into beers they’ll like, talking about the styles and flavors, directing to where a beer lives in the store; discussing availability, taking and advising on special orders…

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Aug 08

Licenses and trademarks and beers… oh my!

It’s likely that you’ve seen or heard about some licensing and trademark battle in the beer industry, such as: “Stillwater Artisanal Ales LLC sues Stillwater Brewing Co. for trademark infringement,” or “Trademark infringement claim by Yorkshire brewery,” or

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Jul 30

Questions people ask about beer (aka, Topics for beer bloggers)

Fizzy yellow beer (FYB) seems pretty simple: It’s crisp, light, and refreshing. Some may say it’s just fizzy yellow water posing as beer, but there are millions devoted to it. And a few of those may even believe the myths that drinking it will attract pretty women, or that it’s the coldest tasting thing in …

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Jul 29

The beer bloggers reach

There are over 223 Million people in the United States who are of legal drinking age. 95 Million of those are beer drinkers. That’s a lot of audience potential for your average beer blogger.

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