Stocking up on beer
October 13, 2009 11:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm in Olympia, WA and looking to lay up a few (3 or 4) cases of Guinness Extra Stout for the winter. What's the least expensive way to do this? Are there beer emporiums around that offer close to wholesale prices?

I can travel south to Portland if prices are significantly better in Oregon. Thanks!
posted by otio to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
3 or 4 cases still puts you in retail territory. I'd probably ask the guy at the corner store if he'd give you a friendly discount for that much.
posted by rhizome at 11:38 AM on October 13, 2009

Sam's/Costco, if you have them up there (and you have a membership), often have the best deals on alcohol. A good friend of mine has a distributor's license, and his cost for canned/bottled beer straight from the distributor are just about the same cost as Sam's.
posted by nitsuj at 11:41 AM on October 13, 2009

Since Oregon and Washington both have state run liquor distribution systems, it's unlikely that you'll find any significant differences in pricing from anyone in either state, at such small amounts. A quick googling makes it look like you have to maintain a significant inventory to achieve wholesaler status in the state.

a specialty shop license is $100, which entails maintaining a $3,000 wholesale beer and/or wine inventory.
posted by nomisxid at 11:46 AM on October 13, 2009

Beer and wine are not distributed by the state, at least not in Washington, but there is a large hidden-tax on beer (and probably wine), and I don't think buying wholesale could get you around that. Your best bet is probably Costco. If you don't have a membership, see if a friend does.
posted by Good Brain at 12:05 PM on October 13, 2009

I do have a Costco membership but don't think they carry Guinness.

I realize now the mention of wholesale price narrowed the answers so let me rephrase my question a bit:

Anyone know of a liquor store with a good selection of beers by the case in or around Olympia, WA?

I'm new to the area and just looking for a warehouse-type place to get a few cases cheap.
posted by otio at 12:19 PM on October 13, 2009

We just moved to Kitsap County, after living in Philadelphia. Philly (and PA in general) has really fantastic beer distributors: giant warehouses filled with cases of beer, selling for a reasonable price--not wholesale, but way less than buying them by the sixpack. You can't buy less than a case at the distributors; and can't buy more than two six-packs from a retail "store".

I've looked everywhere for such a thing up here, and I can't find it. People I ask act like I'm crazy for thinking such a magical place could possibly exist. Hell, the only "cases" I can even find up here are 12 packs.

I'm not sure why this is. But it has become clear to me that there's something structural or cultural here that prevents it. Good luck.
posted by Netzapper at 12:30 PM on October 13, 2009

Guinness Extra Stout isn't nitrogenated, so you could get a keg. It might be cheaper than buying several cases. 4 cases (of 24 12oz. bottles) is 9 gallons. You can usually find pony kegs with 7.75 gallons, or a full keg between 13-15.5 gallons. Call around to the local liquor stores and ask if they rent kegs, or if they know someone who does. Let them know you want to keep it for a while. They usually won't care as long as they know when you're going to bring it back. You pay a deposit that's refunded when you return the keg.
posted by team lowkey at 12:30 PM on October 13, 2009

Just ask...Any good liquor store should be able to order them from the distributor. Don't do the keg. After it is tapped it probably has a shelf life of about a week or two.
posted by Gungho at 12:52 PM on October 13, 2009

Ok, thanks, I'll just ask around.
posted by otio at 2:53 PM on October 13, 2009

Costco does indeed have Guinness, at least here in the Seattle store. Call & ask.
posted by Aquaman at 4:28 PM on October 13, 2009

You should also get acquainted with The Gravity Beer Market, a very cool beer store in downtown Oly, on 4th St.
posted by Aquaman at 4:31 PM on October 13, 2009

Just from an Australian perspective, the idea of it being in anyway challenging to get a few cases of Guinness is terrifying. God speed to you.
posted by bystander at 7:54 PM on October 13, 2009

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