What’s your favorite liquor store, packie, or whatever else you want to call it? I was thinking about this today. Here in Portland there are probably three main places for good beer to go — Whole Foods, RSVP Liquors and Downeast Beverage. Sure you can get booze just about anywhere in town — grocery stores, gas stations, even wal*mart and Rite Aid — but there are few places that have selections of Better Beer which come anywhere close to to three I listed above.

And I was thinking today about which one is my favorite. To tell you the truth, I’ve never actually been in RSVP. I know to many people in town this is a travesty. But for me, I already know all the beer available in the state so I know they don’t carry anything I can’t find somewhere else. So under the circumstances, RSVP itself is too inconvenient (being on the wrong side of a busy street), too uninviting looking (it looks like a big, dark warehouse) and, well, I’m a creature of habit.

Secondly, the fact remains that the majority of my beer money probably goes to Whole Foods. Not because it’s my favorite, but because it’s the most convenient since I do all of my weekly grocery shopping there and can just pick up some good beer at the same time. But just because they get the majority of my money, doesn’t mean they’re my favorite.

That distinction most definitely goes to Downeast Bev. Those guys are the most knowledgeable about beer in the city, they have a good selection at good prices, they’re right downtown and most of all, they’re fun. Just last Friday I paid them a visit late in the work day to stock up for the weekend’s festivities and found one employee wearing a giant beer bottle Halloween costume (like this one) re-stocking shelves. I got to sample a beer I hadn’t had before, simply by asking about it (I wouldn’t recommend this to just anyone, as I’m sure it was a special privilege, since they knew me. But you get the point) and I hung out at the counter with some of the employees just chewing the cud for a good 20 minutes.

So my point is, sometimes your favorite liquor store (or probably even favorite bar) isn’t just about price or selection but it’s about the knowledge to gain from the people who work there, the people who really know their stuff, and most importantly it’s about the store you can have the most fun going to. Or at least that’s how I look at it.

What’s your favorite liquor store, and why? Please share in the comments section.



  1. Unfortunatly where I live, there is not many “Beer Specialty” stores in the Boise area. We do have an online retailer that deliver’s any of  300+ craft beers to your door. Brewforia Beer Market is quickly becoming my favorite place to get brews that you normally cant’t get from our corporate grocery stores or state run liquor store. Check them out at http://www.brewforia.com/

  2. Julion’s Liquors in Westborough, MA.  They hav an ungodly number of beers (over 1000) available.  It’s like a candy store for adults.


  3. Try Oak Hill Beverage in Scarborough (across from the High School). Great selection, best prices in Maine and homebrew supplies ta boot.

  4. For convenience, I hit Vic and Whit’s or Madden’s Beverage in Saco.  Just shopped at Bootleggers in Topsham, and they had a terrific selection.  Tully’s in Wells is good to if you are ever down south Rt 1.

  5. The Wine Gallery in Brookline, Ma. They have a large collection of quality craft brews that you can tell were assempbled with a great deal of consideration. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and they have free beer tastings.

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