Not Martha

the state of booze in Washington

When Scott and I moved to Seattle and it’s rather spartan state run liquor stores we found ourselves telling our friends about this magical liquor store that California had. It was the size of a small grocery store, it was well lit and cheerful and sold food, glassware and everything you might need. It was called BevMo and we missed it. Earlier this year liquor sales laws in Washington state changed moving liquor into grocery stores and non-state run retail. So when BevMo invited me on a tour of their new stores in Washington state, Tacoma and Silverdale, I had to admit I was curious. This is what I learned.

We started with some side by side wine comparisons and I really enjoyed the picks by Paul Gregrutt. The Maison Bleue “Au Contraire” 2011 Chardonnay and Abeja Cabernet, both Washington wineries I’d never tried before, were the standouts for me.

This is something exciting and new, the Washington BevMo stores have growler filling stations. The current offerings are Mac & Jack’s African Amber, Georgetown Brewery’s Manny’s Pale Ale, Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA, Schooner Exact 3-Grid IPA, Widmer Raspberry Imperial Russian Stout, Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA, Harmon Brewing Expedition Amber and Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA.

The stores carry local favorites as well. I spied Cougar Gold cheese and Triple-X Root Beer on the shelves.

I was so happy to see Sun Liquor among the offerings. I love their gin. If you’re making martinis the Hedge Trimmer goes well with olives while the Gun Club deserves a twist. I highly recommend a visit to one of their locations, these people make some awfully nice cocktails.

And for those of us who like to be a bit fancy, they had all three kinds of Lillet and a wide selection of bitters. I have only recently tried Lillet and I was an instant convert. It’s true love folks.

John Ueding from Click Distributing introduced us to some his favorite Washington spirits. The Rose Geranium Liqueur from Bravo Spirits was enchanting. Also, the Woodinville Whiskey Company tasting rooms are only a bike ride away, a bike ride I will be taking very soon.

We ended with some beer tastings. I love a big hoppy beer and here are the ones that I fell for.

Silver City Brewery Saint Florian. Saint Florian is the Patron Saint of Firefighters and a portion of the profits go to a Washington State Council of Firefighters benevolent fund. This had a lively and big aroma.

Pike Brewing’s Space Needle Golden Anniversary 2012 Vintage IPA had a citrus aroma that left me sniffing my beer a bit more than might have been completely acceptable in polite company. Pike won a contest to brew this for the Seattle Space Needle’s 50th anniversary this year but I was told that the beer might stay around longer than just this year but if you find yourself near one grab it just in case.

Hale’s Aftermath Imperial IPA is a limited release that also had a huge hoppy aroma. The Hale’s brews seem to be evolving lately and even though I don’t live in the neighborhood anymore I think I’ll be traveling back for a visit. Just Beer has more notes on the beers we tried on the trip.

We came home on the Ferry while the sun was setting, so nice. Thanks to BevMo for a really nice day, I learned a bunch and found a few new favorite things.

· comments [22] · 07-12-2012 · categories:drink · seattle ·

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Melinda W // Jul 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Ooh, I didn’t realize BevMos were open already! I passed the one in Tacoma a few weeks back and it was still “coming soon” …. which didn’t mean much to me at the time since we, too, live a [2.5 mi] bike ride from Woodinville Whiskey. But I think it’ll be worth a drive down there soon, since it also means being close to the only Chevy’s in the area and I LOVE their salsa :P

    Oh yeah, my hubby and I are also from CA so as soon as the liquor bill passed we were just waiting to see how long until we had BevMos and Liquor Barns in the area :D

  • 2 megan // Jul 12, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Melinda – I think the Tacoma store is open already, but I know that both the Tacoma and Silverdale locations are having official opening parties tomorrow night Friday, July 13th. I hear there will be nice gift bags for the first 50 people in line.

    I had no idea there was a Chevy’s in Tacoma! That is another CA place I haven’t been to in a long time.

    I know that the Wine World in Wallingford has expanded with lots of liquor, I’m visiting next week and I’ll report on what their selection looks like.

  • 3 kathryn // Jul 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I live in Silverdale currently and have been watching the BevMo site with baited breath. So happy to be able to get Mac n Jacks to drink at home! Thanks for the info.

  • 4 megan // Jul 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    kathryn – I know! I live near a few breweries and restaurants that fill growlers and it’s fantastic to have for parties. I’m excited that they’ll have such a wide selection.

  • 5 Courtney // Jul 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    I had no idea that they had opened a BevMo up here! I hit the one in San Jose up every time I’m there. Do you know if they plan to open anything in Seattle proper? I’ll be interested to see what you find at Wine World. I’m so happy you discovered Lillet…it’s the perfect summertime drink!

  • 6 Suzanne // Jul 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    I’m not in WA, but I have moved away from CA and BevMo. Not a huge drinker, per se, but with no BevMo, CostPlus or Trader Joe’s, I’m going crazy without some good, reasonably priced wine and decent craft beera.

  • 7 Amanda // Jul 12, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Ok, am I reading that right?! Cougar Gold for 50 bucks!? That is craziness.

  • 8 megan // Jul 12, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Courtney – I don’t know if they have immediate plans for a Seattle store but I wouldn’t be surprised if one opened soon.

    Amanda – How much does it usually cost?

  • 9 Sara // Jul 13, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Wow! Looks amazing. I’m really jealous right now! I live in Ontario and we can only buy booze at province-run stores. They’re generally really nice and big, but there isn’t nearly the selection that you can get in the States. We also have the Beer Store which has amazing selection. I would love to be able to buy beer and wine at the grocery store though. Sigh.

  • 10 Jamie Peha // Jul 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Fantastic article Megan! So nice to meet you. Jamie

  • 11 Mackenzie Adkins // Jul 13, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Megan – last time I saw it for sale it was around $25 but that was in Spokane. Maybe they charge tariffs when importing it to Husky country.

  • 12 Mackenzie Adkins // Jul 13, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    But more importantly, I’ve driven by the one in Tacoma a couple times and wondered what the heck BevMo was, and I was just at Albertson’s today wondering what type of emporium would stock pisco post-privatization. Thanks for answering both questions!

  • 13 Erin // Jul 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    LOVE Cougar Gold, but will continue to purchase it at WSU, where I can get it for $19/can!

  • 14 Sheryl // Jul 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    You lucky girl you! Sounds like a wonderful time, and, after moving here from CA without any hopes of a Bevmo, I’m quite happy!

  • 15 Nina // Jul 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Cool photos but I see the portait ones rotated right once so hey have become landscape. Am on iPad right now.

  • 16 Nina // Jul 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm


  • 17 Jen // Jul 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    most liquor in Ontario is sold by the provincial crown corporation Liquor Control Board of Ontario, and at least in a big city like Toronto there are several large, attractive and well stocked LCBO stores. They’ve definitely made marketting a priority, and publish a pretty great free magazine, the content of which is largely available online and covers recipes (food and drink,) decor and entertaining.

  • 18 Kris @BevMo // Jul 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Hi Megan, Thanks so much for joining us on our first bus tour. We’re so happy you could join us. We had a great time, and it sounds like you did too.

    We have a few more stores opening this fall. We’ll keep you, and your readers posted as we finalize dates. We definitely have a few locations closer to Seattle so everyone should be thrilled.


    Kris @BevMo
    Getting married? Check out our wedding site.

  • 19 Beer Links: Monday July 16th // Jul 16, 2012 at 11:58 am

    […] Not Martha gives you a tour of the new BevMo locations […]

  • 20 rokt // Jul 17, 2012 at 10:00 am

    For $50, that cheese better feel me up before I eat it.

  • 21 Uncle Beefy // Jul 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Ooh! Have heard of BevMo but never been and *thrilled* to know that there’s one in my neck of the woods!

    And, Abeja? My top fave wine pick! YUM!

  • 22 Seanna Lea // Jul 19, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Rose Geranium liquer sounds amazing. I’ll have to see if it is something that any of my local (East Coast) shops sell the next time I want to try something new.

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