Dec 20, 2006

Local Selection Dilemma

Finding good beers is never an easy process, but it shouldn’t be that hard either. In the Warrenton, VA area there are two places that I know of off the top of my head where I can purchase a good craft beer. Unfortunately, the closest Total Wine is a good 30 minute drive away with a progressively dwindling selection. I’ve noticed over the past couple of visits that the selection has fallen to the wayside.

The second is a mere 10 minute drive, but the boutique deli/bakery prices are astronomical and the selection, while somewhat decent, only occupies two small shelves in a wine rack. Between the two shops I can usually find a few good bottles to enjoy and both usually carry the standard standbys, but when it comes to finding something unique to my area, they aren’t quite up to task.

Online Stores and Shipping

I’m not looking for any beer specifically, just a shop with a varied selection at a decent price. I know there are a few good shops in the DC area, but that’s a bit of a hike. I suppose my limited knowledge of the Warrenton area (we just moved a few months ago) has forced me to explore online.

In my brief research with the above sites, I’ve found that one is obviously overseas and would cost me an arm and a leg to ship — not to mention the long distance for a bottled beer to travel. I’m not sure I want to chance spending some hard earned cash on a shipment of wet, broken glass.

The one in Oregon presents the same shipping challenges for me. The selection for Liquid Solutions looks great, but I’m just a bit wary of the distance. Reviews of the company show that they have a pretty strong reputation in terms of shipping so I might take a chance and order a few bottles as a test run.

Now, Vintage Cellars is essentially right down the road from the home — 210 miles to be exact. Their online shop, from what I’ve seen and read, has a great selection, but it is cumbersome when completing an order.

Both of the shops that are located in the US have good reviews in terms of their packaging, but neither seem any cheaper than the shops that I currently frequent. I suppose you’re paying more for the packaging and the selection, as well as the convenience of ordering hard to find brews online. I’m leaning towards Liquid Solutions at this time as they seem to have a larger user base.

I would love to hear from anyone in the Warrenton area that can point me to a few local shops before I start clicking on every beer I see online.