Posted by Chuck from Barley Mowat
New Liquor Retail Stores are cropping up left right and centre in this town, making me think that I’m not the only one getting a bit disenfranchised with the whole LDB monopoly thing. While it is true that the selection of good beer at the LDB is increasing, it’s really only because existing LDB brands (notably Lighthouse) have started producing better beer. Value On Liquor Store. Value On Liquor SW Marine Vancouver BC
However, if your good beer desires stretch beyond the 4 or 5 reliable brands carried by the LDB, or if you want to interact with staff who actually give a crap about good beer, you have to haul your lazy ass over to an LRS. And over at that LRS you will generally find much better selection, a staff as snooty as you are, and prices that can sometimes verge on bankruptcy inducing. Value On Liquor. Value On Liquor Vancouver BC
Say what you want about the attitude you get for not buying Molson at the LDB, but that bomber of Driftwood Fat Tug sure is $5.50. That same bottle is >$7 at many LRSs, and even more at Viti, who annually win both the citation for Highest Prices in Town and that other award for Closest LRS to Chuck’s House. Value On Liquor Store Vancouver BC
At Value On Liquor, though, that bottle of sweet, delicious liquid hops rings true at $5.50. Yup, Value On offers LDB price matching, which is a Good Thing. Of course, as someone who lives downtown, it’s also a Moot Thing, as I most certainly didn’t drive past three or four perfectly good LDBs to buy the same schlock for the same price, only further away. I’m here precisely because the LDB doesn’t have good beer.
It’s a cash prize. And sadly, Value On doesn’t have a lot of good beer either. Sure, they’ve got the standard mix of Deschutes, Lagunitas and Green Flash, and even some of the odder Canuck ales like Garrison, but where are the Uprights or Belgians? The store is still new, and there are lots of empty slots on those shelves, so perhaps they’re still stocking up, but somehow I don’t think so. Value On Liquor Store. Value On Liquor Fraser Arms Hotel SW Marine
You see, in order to get to those above mentioned brands, you have to walk past their massive Wall of Beer (the back wall is all glass fronted coolers). And the first thing you’ll notice is that this Wall of Beer is comprised of Bud. And Coors. And Labatts. Lots and lots of it. For comparison, go to Viti, Legacy, Brewery Creek or Firefly and try to find the pyramid of Bud. Value On Liquor Store South Granville Vancouver BC
It’s very clear that the big name brands are where Value On expect to make their money, and I get the feeling that the relatively small section of craft beer is only because a rep at AFIC or BeerThirst was able to convince them to try just the tip, just for a bit, just to see how it feels. RainCity, notably, is completely absent, so don’t go here hoping to grab an Upright or Glazen Toren. Value On Liquor Store. Vancouver Craft Beer
Their wine selection is significantly better, though, and the price matching guarantee stole Sharon from my side for an extended period of time. I could always figure out where she was in the store by the muted “clinks” that came from her ever-increasingly-burdened basket every few minutes, but alas I’m a beer guy first and I was nowhere near as excited. Value On Liquor Vancouver BC. Value On Liquor Craft Beer value on liquor
And while the price matching is a nice benefit, it goes right out the window for beers not offered at the LDB. Deschutes Mirror Pond? $15, same as the LDB (roughly twice the $7 it is in Oregon). Deschutes Inversion IPA, which is $8 in Oregon and not available at the LDB? $21. Throw on to that price the fact there is no 10% discount for CAMRA members and their beer is starting to look a bit pricey… at a store that obviously is positioning itself on price. Value On Liquor Vancouver BC Craft Beer SW Marine Drive
Perhaps this place might be a good middle ground for beer-loving geeks and their wine-loving girlfriends, but I’m not going out of my way to come back. Could I walk in en route to a party and find some beer that I would have no shame consuming? Absolutely. Is there anything here to geek out about? Not really. Craft Beer Vancouver
Sure, it’s a giant step up for people that live in the area, but a store as large and as ambitious as Value On needs to be much, much more than that. It needs to be good enough to give me a reason to come back other than when I’m en route to get drunk watching the planes land at YVR.
UPDATE: I would be remiss if I did not at least mention that the famous Lundy Dale (of CAMRA BC and Firefly fame) will be involved with Value On Liquor. Lundy is sure to bring good things to the 3 or 4 craft beer coolers available to her, and maybe might even begin a program of annexation of the macro displays. I have no doubts that she’d like to, but what management wants to do might be another thing altogether.
Posted by Chuck from Barley Mowat