There's a number of beer bottle shops in Portland. They sell only beer...no liquor...no wine...just beer. My favorite by a long-shot is Belmont Station, and unfortunately I don't have any pictures of this awesome little place! But please promise me that you'll check it out next time you visit. They have over 1300 unique beers available and they organize the store by geography, so you can check out the West Coast beers, Oregon has it's own section, Belgium, Germany, etc. There's also a seasonal section so if you're wanting the newest offerings you can go straight to that area. An interesting thing about this place, to me, is that it's located within a mile of Fred Meyer and New Seasons. Both of these are grocery stores, Fred Meyer is a franchise (think King Soopers) and has 800 unique beers. New Seasons started in Portland and has a selection of about 300. There's also a convenience store nearby with a hundred or so unique beers. Even though all these places are near by, Belmont Station is thriving and the store is always buzzing with customers.
|At Fred Meyer, with craft beer front and center getting all the proper attention.|
I understand that the laws for beer in liquor stores, convenience stores, and grocery stores is pretty firm in Colorado and that breweries have set up their business models to match these laws, not necessarily to anticipate any changes. I've talked to many brewers about the law and almost all of them agree that things need to stay the same, that many liquor stores would go out of business if they lost their monopoly on full-strength beer, that only the bigger breweries would receive shelf space at grocery/convenience stores, and that there would be no one to help you decide what to buy. I've seen both sides, I often go to liquor stores here in Colorado that have shitty selection, and some that have a great selection but no knowledgeable staff. I'm very thankful that I live near Weber and Coaltrain, both have helpful staff and a good selection. I've been to convenience stores in Oregon that have helpful staff and good selection. I don't know what to think about it anymore and I don't really know if I care too much either. As far as I know, the fight over changing the 3.2 laws aren't on the books this year but they easily could be next year. My hope is that whatever happens, the craft beer sector will continue to grow, that it will see new markets for its beer, and that if things change there will be a strong entrepreneurial spirit behind brewers and liquor stores to know how to adapt.
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