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View Full Version : ABC Stores??????????????



d_nelly78
04-18-2008, 18:50
I am new to VA and have only been buying at my local Post Exchange Class VI store. But last night I started researching ABC stores in my area and saw they carried Buffalo Trace in the 1.75 which is not carried at all on post(In any variety). So I went on a quest today trying to find my new favorite bourbon and was very pissed by the end of the day. Their webpage said they carried BT but only one liquor store worker had ever heard of it and they only had one on hand(it was a 750 mL too). In a city the size of Newport News how can they only have a few liquor stores and not have people going nuts. Is BT that obscure or are people here bass ackwards like the people in Alaska I was so used too before getting stationed here. I'm here for a few years and I guess I better get used to this. HUH?

Rughi
04-18-2008, 19:15
...are people here bass ackwards like the people in Alaska I was so used too before getting stationed here. I'm here for a few years and I guess I better get used to this. HUH?

I had a very different experience at the Virginia ABC (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=56326&postcount=72). I'm sure some of it was good fortune, but I'd like to think it was at least partly because I went into the store looking to meet nice people.

Roger

ggilbertva
04-18-2008, 19:25
Surprise! What you've experienced is the complete zany way that VA ABC handles liquor distribution. Please make no attempt to understand the system nor should you apply any logic in your quest for fine bourbon in the great commonwealth of VA.

Yes, you will have to learn to get used to it. VA ABC is a frustrating monopoly that applies no common sense to it's placement of fine bourbon.

Get in your car and drive to every ABC that is in your surrounding area and hope that you find something worth buying. Most stores carry the typical swill...I'm been fortunate at times to find some gems such as....

Wathens Single Barrel
Old Charter Prop Reserve 13 year
AAA 10 year

....to name a few. You're kind of stuck being in NN, I typically travel into DC or MD to purchase my bourbon.

My final comment is this....find an ABC store in your area where the manager is somewhat intelligent and interested in bourbon....befriend him and he may check the system for you and ship bottles into the store from other locales. My brother and I have tried this tact with mixed results. Good luck.

TNbourbon
04-18-2008, 19:47
Despite many comments about it here, there seems to be a widespread lack of understanding the straits Buffalo Trace (and other distilleries, too) is under regarding its bourbons. Every single one of them is on allocation -- which means they are sold to distributors only in pre-set, limited volumes according to market.
Add to that that BT is attempting to roll out its baseline lineup -- Buffalo Trace, Old Charter, Eagle Rare Single Barrel, Wellers, et al -- on a much broader footing. Prior to the last year or so, BT and OC, for example, have only been available in a handful of markets (Tennessee, thankfully, has been one for many years).
That's why you're seeing such angst here about items like OC12, Weller 107, etc. becoming scarce or being discontinued: those of us who've long had them now have to share them with EVERYONE -- or wean ourselves entirely -- and those who've newly received them can't resupply because BT is short of whiskey as they try to spread it wider, but thinner.
Bottom line is, we're in a bourbon crunch, suddenly. The stuff we've thought of haphazardly because it was always available now is hard to replenish. If you were caught with your shelves empty, or came to the party too late, you may just be out of luck -- at least, temporarily (the distilleries ARE ramping up production).
My advice is to use it as an excuse to investigate various bottlings. There's a lot of good stuff out there, and all it takes is finding it!:cool:

cowdery
04-19-2008, 14:08
Yes, Virginia, the Commonwealth of Virginia is a Communist state, where although the state does not control the means of production, it does control all distribution and retail sales. So it's sort of like shopping for liquor in the old Soviet Union. There are only two certainties. The first store you go to won't have what you want and the subsequent stores you go to will have even less than the first one did. Are these the people we want controlling health care?

ggilbertva
04-19-2008, 20:36
Ah, Chuck...you've shopped in VA before? You've made my point. I've been to stores where the stock is pathetic. Another store, very well stocked with good bourbon. For instance, today I walked into an ABC close to my home and while the shelf was empty, they had a label for Weller Antique 107. I could drive 20 miles and hit 1/2 dozen more stores and not a single one will have that bourbon on the shelf, much less the label. I've given up trying to figure out how they distribute liquor here in VA.

d_nelly78
04-20-2008, 16:22
I found the one store in the area that seems to cater to Bourbon drinkers. Great selection and a very nice and knowledgable manager. I was a little tipsy when I typed my last post. I apologize if I sounded a little off. I was just frustrated. I am living in a hotel suite with my wife, three daughters, and a dog. We are waiting for our household goods to arrive from Alaska. Then we can move into our house. This particular store is about a thirty minute drive from where I'll be living. But that's nothing. They say that they can get me whatever is carried by ABC Virginia. I think I will get some 1.75's of BT and a bottle of George T Stagg. While I was there I bought their last bottle of BT and a bottle of Elmer T Lee. I liked the BT (of course) but didn't care too much for Elmer. I think for my next sample I may go with Bernheim or Sazerac. Which they carry as well.

ggilbertva
04-20-2008, 17:37
Matt,

If your talking the about the Baby Saz, that's a good purchase. ABC also carries Weller Antique 107. Check to see if they either have it or will get it for you.

ThomasH
04-20-2008, 17:54
I have had a few dealings with the Virginia ABC stores and they have always been helpful. The particular store I have dealt with is in Hillsville, a few miles off I-77. My parents go to Myrtle Beach every year and stop at this exit for fuel. I have called ahead to check stock of certain things at this store, which is near where my parents fuel up. The store manager is very friendly and helpful and on more than one occassion, has held stuff for me until my parents picked it up. I recommend this store to anyone who passes through or lives in the area!

Thomas

callmeox
04-20-2008, 18:02
Upon the suggestion of ThomasH, I called the main office for the Ohio DLC and they were very pleased to check on items for me and she let me know who in my area had them in stock.

Perhaps the Virginia ABC will give the same info if you ask. It will certainly save you some driving around.

Also, if Virginia is like Ohio in how they handle their stock, the store owners may order in items for you from the state price list if you ask. Since the store owners don't own the liquor that they stock (they sell on behalf of Ohio for commission) they will order in anything that you want even if you just want to buy one bottle.

It doesn't hurt to ask.

smokinjoe
04-20-2008, 19:04
I have been to several "state" stores in Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio. Even though, in general, the selections I have found basically su$#!, (particularly Alabama...I feel your pain Tim :() I must say that I have seen some excellent "sale" prices on some bottles. I recall seeing ETL, Weller Antique, JB Black, among others at the lowest prices I have seen them anywhere. As always, looking for a silver lining in every dark cloud :)

JOE

ggilbertva
04-21-2008, 17:28
I have yet to see any place beat Montgomery County, MD. They have EWSB 1998 on sale for $17.99.

mgilbertva
04-21-2008, 17:58
Perhaps the Virginia ABC will give the same info if you ask. It will certainly save you some driving around.

Also, if Virginia is like Ohio in how they handle their stock, the store owners may order in items for you from the state price list if you ask. Since the store owners don't own the liquor that they stock (they sell on behalf of Ohio for commission) they will order in anything that you want even if you just want to buy one bottle.

It doesn't hurt to ask.

There is a possibility that you can find something if you ask.

The problem here is an odd one. Virginia does have a database that tracks the location of every bottle the state has in stock with a reasonable amount of accuracy. Sounds useful, right? The problem is, only the GM of the store is allowed to access that database, and some won't do it for walk-in customers. (What the reasoning is for this policy is utterly beyond my ability to comprehend.) That's why you have to make friends with a local GM. Second, for many hard-to-find items you have to know the product code - the number isn't available in the main database. They can find something once they know the product number, but they can't look it up if it's missing from their sometimes incomplete or inaccurate product database.

By the way, that database is on-line at www.abc.virginia.gov/wholereal.html (http://www.abc.virginia.gov/wholereal.html) under Price List (http://www.abc.virginia.gov/Pricelist/price.html) and Special Order Catalog (http://www.abc.virginia.gov/SpecialOrder/sporder.html).

As for ordering items not currently in the store, there are problems here too. Stores usually will not transfer bottles from one store to another. Apparently there's a huge logistical hassle involved, so most just refuse. The one time I actually got a store to agree to do it the process took 2 months and then they lost it in the Richmond warehouse.

Next, if you order something that is in the central warehouse, then they are willing to place the order. But the problems don't go away for the longsuffering bourbon shopper. Once an order has been placed there is no way to track that order. Until a store employee opens a box and finds the order inside, they won't know if or when that product is going to be there.

Sometimes you get lucky and the process goes off without a hitch. And sometimes you don't.

Do I sound bitter? No, just experienced.