Ch-ch-ch-changes…

Did you know that in just over a week, Barrique Barrel will be two years old?  It’s true!  Two years of building friendships, explaining the difference between Pinot Gris & Pinot Blanc, searching out the latest beers, and expanding the inventory…bottle by bottle, cooler by cooler, chocolate bar by chocolate bar.

And with that in mind, it’s time to announce the biggest expansion yet.  As of today, October 23rd, we will be able to pour you a glass and let you relax.

It’s going to take a bit of time to get things in order (yikes, time to go snifter glass shopping!  Oh, right, and we are suddenly in desperate need of a kegerator!).  But in the meantime, I bet you’re wondering just exactly how this will change the business.

* Our hours will stay the same.  That’s Tuesday through Saturday from 12-8 & 12-6 on Sundays.  (Although keep an eye out for our holiday hours, when we are open for 7 days a week).  Why is that?  Because a bottle shop has always been the goal.  The expansion into “tasting bar” is being undertaken because we want to open MORE bottles for you.  We want to give you as many chances as possible to taste.  What happens when you taste wine?  You are more likely to leave satisfied with your purchase, knowing that you enjoyed that wine here & you’ll enjoy it at home.  You are also more likely to understand what I mean when I say things like “This wine tastes like raspberry jam” because you have a glass of it in your hand.  Then (and this is the most important part), we get to have a conversation, which strengthens our community within the store and outside of it.

* How will this affect Friday Night Flights?  The short answer is that it won’t…much.  There will still be a flight (alternating as much as we can between beer, wine & cider).  The biggest difference is that if, while tasting, you find something that you particularly enjoy, you can buy a glass of it.  (And if you do, the tasting fee will be waived.)  Plus, you know those times that we are doing a cider tasting but your husband hates the stuff?  Now he’ll be able to pull a bottle of  beer out of our expanded cooler selection for a small corkage fee.

* As for a kegerator, that is decidedly in the works.  There will be three taps, with one of those three dedicated to cider.  Expect to see a rotating selection of limited releases.

* But where in the store will you hang out?  Sure, it can get a little crowded in there.  Expect to see some rearranging of the wine racks & bar area in the next few weeks.

There is some bad news that comes along with these changes.  Without serving food (which we are simply not in a position to do), the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (that’s the licensing government body) will not allow minors in the store while alcohol is being served.  I worked with the OLCC to find a compromise – building a kids area in the front of the store, roping off areas, rearranging things – but the simple fact is that we couldn’t swing it.  Here’s the compromise that I got:  Alcohol service begins at 3pm.  Minors are allowed in the store until that time.  After that, Barrique Barrel would face fines for any minors in the store.

I know that this is less than ideal.  I know that we have had families in the shop since Day One and without all those parents supporting us, we would never have gotten to where we are.  I wish, I wish that I could have found some way to work within the bureaucracy, so I hope you believe me when I say that I did everything within my power to find a way.  We will be more than happy to welcome minors in the store before 3pm, but please understand that we won’t have a choice after 3pm.

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