Only a couple of months behind schedule, a new bottle shop has opened at the corner of 12th and Division: The Beermongers. Last night they were celebrating the "soft opening" with balloons and a keg of Ninkasi Total Domination. The shop currently has about 185 kinds of beer on the shelf, with room to bump it up to about 250. Beermongers is open 11 AM to 9 PM, seven days a week.
You might ask yourself, what's a success strategy for a smallish beer store in Southeast Portland? They're not far from New Seasons on Division, which has a really good beer selection. And they don't plan to match the 1000-beer selection of Belmont Station. So what is the angle? Surprisingly, Beermongers plans to compete on price, with prices lower than Belmont, New Seasons, convenience stores, or even Fred's or Safeway. I never would have come up with that idea, but it sure warms my penny-pinching heart.
The proprietors are Sean Campbell and Craig Gulla, a couple of longtime McMenamins employees, seen here ringing up a $9 12-pack of Session Lager -- that's an old-timey SPE of $4.91. Craig told me that the plan is to keep the everyday prices low, and not rely on special sale prices. That's a nice price on Session: on my way home I stopped into New Seasons and saw it priced at $12. Some other low prices I noticed were:
- Bridgeport IPA: $6 6-pack
- North Coast Old Rasputin: $7.80 4-pack
- Unibroue 750ml bottles: $6.35
- Paulaner Salvator: $2.05 half-liter
The space itself reminded me a lot of By the Bottle in Vancouver, and the beers are arranged by style similarly to By the Bottle and Belmont Station. Even though there are plenty of snob-worthy beers, Beermongers also stocks Bud-Miller-Coors and Pabst, priced aggressively. They have an on-site license, so future plans include a small bar with three or four local taps, and a little bit of seating if you want to sample a bottle right off the shelf. Craig said they also plan to stock a small selection of reasonably-priced wines to cater to multi-beverage households. It would have saved me a trip to New Seasons last night, so I think their instincts are good.
I've heard two different rumors of pubs that might go in across the street from Beermongers, so this corner of Ladd's Addition might be a happening little beer area in the coming years. Best of luck to The Beermongers in their new venture!