DBW - Opening Friday 8.25.2017

Well, this has been a heck of a thing. A true journey that began as a dream years ago by a few best friends and coworkers who dared to ask one too many times “Why not us?” has finally reached fruition.  Casual conversations that quickly escalate into a million ideas over drinks rarely amount to more than that, but we refused to fall victim to the kind of exuberance that overwhelms and leads to inaction.  Instead of being content with thinking we could make it work, we got serious and began believing we could.  And so spit-balling ideas over drinks graduated to dinner parties with discussions, to categorized email threads, to more research, to a formal business plan, to funding, to construction, to where we are now...the opening of our very own beer and wine shop.  

It would be impossible to say that this experience has been carefree or even pleasant all of the time, but we made it, and on Friday August 25 we are thrilled to finally open the doors to the incredible people of Alexandria and the greater Washington DC area.  From the beginning, we targeted the Del Ray/Potomac Yards area as our future home.  Living close by, we have seen how wonderful this community is and how supportive the residents and local government are towards small businesses, and we pledge our commitment to serving this community to the best of our abilities.

Officially, The Department’s mission is to shape and sustain a fun, unique, informative, and community-oriented retail environment, as well as to foster conditions for customers, brewers, makers, growers, artisans, and vendors alike to come together for the benefit of the people of Alexandria, VA, the greater DMV area, and craft enthusiasts everywhere.  This mission, one of heartfelt commitment, is shared by this Administration and all staff members, ensuring a common path forward as we invest in our mutual love of the craft beer, wine, and gourmet food industries.  As we join the establishments that came before us, we pledge to become a positive force in this industry, a strong supporter of arts and music, and a leader in the community.

So what have we been up to lately?  A whole lot of painting, wiring, learning how to operate appliances, and for sure a whole lot of tasting.  Our beer inventory will consist of local, domestic, and a strong international selection, available in package and on draft to go in our glass ‘growlers” or the new “crowler” cans that are all the rage right now.  They look great, are easy to recycle, and offer a better shelf life compared to glass growlers. While it is impossible in today’s craft beer scene (where one-off beers are the new norm) to try everything before it comes into the shop, you can trust that the majority of what we have on the shelf has been tasted, with the rest coming from quality breweries we trust.  If it is not up to par, an old batch, or just not any good, we will pull it.   

Much like the beer inventory, our wine inventory will also consist of top quality local, domestic, and international wines.  We are lucky to have some of the best wine sales reps we have ever encountered over the years and so far they have been showing us killer wines with almost no duds.  You can trust that if it is on our shelves we support it.  We are on this journey with you, so we welcome feedback, as well as recommendations or special orders.

To accompany our beverage inventory we have gathered together some amazing snacks and gourmet foods to be paired with drinks, enjoyed all by itself, or given as a gift.  Ice creams, chocolates, jams, condiments, candies, soda pops, chips, peanuts...you get the idea.  Each item has been hand selected just like the rest of our inventory.  We love food and we are so excited to be working with and even collaborating with some amazing local artisans.  There are gourmet items from around the world as well rounding out our selections.  We wanted to have more than a few goodies that even our underage shoppers could enjoy.

If you are are looking for gifts, we have put together a variety of different gift basket options available for purchase and pick-up through our online store that will be launched in the coming weeks.  Also available online will be DBW merchandise and gift cards that can be shipped for a small fee.  Sadly we are not able to ship the beer and wine gift baskets.

We have our charitable and community clean-up programs starting in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more information as we get closer to launching those.  A partnership with a local farm is in the works for us to become a CSA pick-up location.  Produce pick-up and store discounts on the day of pick-up, how awesome does that sound!? 

More than anything, we are so grateful for your patience as we built our dream, and since part of our dream is to serve you as best we can, we hope to see you soon.

- The Department

Principal Officers and Chiefs of Mission

3/3/2017

On behalf of everyone at the Department of Beer and Wine, we would like to welcome you to our blog!  On a semi-regular basis we will posting on here personal experiences we have tasting new products, reviews and reactions to products we sell, stories of our travels to production facilities and farms, recipes, pairing ideas, and quite possibly everything in between.  Think of this as a fun way to get to know a little bit more about the artisanal/craft industries, and our journey working to become one of the best beverage and gourmet shops around.

So let’s get right to the progress we have made towards opening our doors. The Department's Principal Officers and Chiefs of our mission have been appointed and consist of the following ardent individuals who have worked incredibly well together in the past.  Chief Ambassador - Norm Yow, Chief of Staff - Stevie Treichel, Chief Strategist - Jeff Sapsford, and Senior Advisor - Melissa Sapsford have sworn an oath to provide the DC metro with top quality customer service and an unbeatable selection.  The Current Administration Bio’s can be found here.

The Department of Beer and Wine is also getting closer to breaking ground and beginning the store's build-out.  We are thrilled to be working with good friends on the store's design.  Architect John Southern of Urban Operations, a Los Angeles based architecture firm, has designed an impressive space that reinterprets bulky retail shelving and equipment by turning them into sculptural pieces.  Utilizing the height of our ceilings and the abundance of light we have from our large windows, John has created a brilliant interior that feels comfortable, unpretentious, and classy all at once.  Customers can expect to be impressed by the abundance and quality of our inventory, while not feeling overwhelmed (a common feeling in big-box stores).  With ease customers will quickly learn how to navigate the the store’s layout, while maintaining a clear line of sight and path to staff at the front.

Although we cannot yet begin tasting product at the store, we have been doing a little research at home.  Super Bowl Sunday was more of a Super Jam and Chocolate Sunday as we made our way through some freaking awesome samples.  Some friends, or should we say a “focus group”, left super full and super happy.  Speaking for everyone, I have to say DBW will have a pretty special gourmet goods section.  Whether you are looking for a small gift, a hostess gift, or just a fun snack to pair with your favorite beer on a Tuesday night, you will have some awesome choices.  Can’t wait for the rest of you to try some as well!

Keep up with our progress through our social media pages, it’s all going to start to happen fast.  Cheers!