Monday, January 21, 2013

Hollywood Beverage: Eastside Liquor + Beer Store

Portland now has a second liquor store which the OLCC allows to sell beer and wine:  Hollywood Beverage at about 30th and NE Sandy.  A couple of years ago I wrote up the other such store: Pearl Specialty Market, which is still your best bet for a good beer selection in the Pearl.

Hollywood Beverage has been open since October -- its previous incarnation as the more run-of-the-mill Hollywood Liquor was further up Sandy just east of the I-84 overpass -- but I didn't make it in for a visit until a couple weeks ago.  I was stunned by how low some of the beer prices were.  Some of them seemed like mistakes until I realized there were too many of them to be in error.  If you thought the prices at Beermongers were the lowest possible, check out these bomber prices:
  • Ninkasi Oatis: $3.15
  • Lompoc Proletariat Red: $3.25
  • Pelican Silverspot IPA: $4.00
  • Gigantic IPA: $4.35
  • Pelican IPA: $4.40
  • Laurelwood Deranger: $7.25
The selection was good but not a home run -- it struck me as kind of a work in progress.  The six-pack prices weren't as startlingly low as the bombers -- most of them could be beat by supermarket sales -- but $8.50 Ninkasi six-packs and $9.50 Caldera sixers were as low as I can remember seeing anywhere.  Imported beers didn't strike me as being so cheap; I think Beermongers may have them beat, and certainly has a better selection.

An employee came up while I was shopping and asked if I had any questions.  "Yeah, why is the beer so cheap?"  He said that the owner is so used to the low margins on liquor set by the OLCC that he thought 20% was a pretty decent markup on beer and wine.  The guy who told me that turned out to be the wine buyer for the store -- "You should see some of the bargains on our wine" -- and he said he's encouraging the owner to either raise the beer and wine prices or start promoting them more to increase sales volume.  So you might want to get in there and snatch up some bargains in case sanity prevails.

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