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Jan 27, 2008 02:57 PM


Also known as Beverages & More, a mostly CA based chain.... has all the basics and afew hard to find spirits... I wish we had them here in vegas, any reviews good or bad??? Thx.

Also does anybody remember a chain in northern cali in the late 80's/early 90's called LIQUOR BARN???

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    1. I hit the San Jose BevMo usually once a month. Like you said, they're good for the basics and have surprised me with some selections that are short lived, like Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth and St. Germain elderflower liqueur. They carry a good, but not extraordinary, range of certain liquors like single malt scotch, bourbon, tequila, and brandy. Locations that I've been to (SoCal and NorCal) have varied, somtimes greatly, in size and selection and prices are pretty average. Wine selection is not all that impressive and while I'm not one, I know that serious wine drinkers don't bother with BevMo. Like with spirits, the beer selection is solid and, occasionally, get some hard-to-find stuff. I'm a big craft beer guy, so I rely on my local bottle shop or other stores in the Bay Area for the brews that are very hard to come by.

      All in all, it's a solid, dependable chain. Better than the average neighborhood liquor store, but doesn't hold a candle to some of the awesome stores that can be found in a lot of areas.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ultramagnetic

        Better than the average neighborhood liquor store, but doesn't hold a candle to some of the awesome stores that can be found in a lot of areas.

        I think that says it all. Good for a bit of everything for your bar, not really a resource for the afficionado of any paticular liquor. I live in LA and we have so many good options, I nevert need to pass through a BevMo, but I could see going if I lived somewhere without any good local options.

        And yes, I remember Liquor Barn from the early '80s, mostly for the many novelty items. Hundreds of whiskey bottles shaped like old cars, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, etc...and the large selection of Beer Nuts type snacks (I was underage at the time).

      2. For people like me who live in the sticks (near Sacramento, CA), BevMo is a godsend. Great prices on the standards, and as mentioned here, they often have hard to find stuff that no corner store in my area would carry (in fact, we don't really have any "corner stores" out here in the burbs). Also, BevMo will order something for you if they don't stock it. I don't generally buy wine there, but do most of my spirits shopping instead. Where else would I have found Herbsaint and Peychaud's to make a decent sazerac? I have found that if you ask, they will sometimes open a reasonably-priced bottle of wine for you to taste if you want to check it out (don't bother asking about doing this with the first growth Bordeaux, obviously). Overall, a good place to shop if you know what you want (they are not so hot on making recommendations, not a lot of knowledge among the staff IMHO, although there are quite a few attractive lasses at my neighborhood location :) ).

        1. Liquor Barn was, at its largest, a 104-store retail chain with 44 stores in Northern California, 44 stores in Southern California, and 16 stores in Arizona. It was a division of Safeway when it was publicly traded, but shortly after a hostile take-over was attempted, the Magowan family took Safeway private (with the help of an investment bank) and then began selling off various divisions to repay the investment bankers.

          Liquor Barn was sold off to a British company (Majestic Wine Warehouses, PLC), who -- within less than 1-1/2 years -- ran Liquor Barn into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It was picked up by two gentlemen from San Diego, but they couldn't save it either, and eventually it folded.

          BevMo was started by some of the same people that were behind the creation of Liquor Barn. It's basically the same concept, with a few tweaks here and there.


          P.S. FWIW, I was with "the Barns" for over 12 years in various capacities, including being the SoCal wine buyer, one of the corporate-level wine buyers, as well as running some of the marketing.