“I think nobody’s really nailed the wine store right,” he said. “It’s an anti-wine store, wine store.”
Brown and his wife are striving for a different sort of atmosphere than a typical wine shop. He said they’re looking at more of a coffee shop vibe, where people will want to come and hang out.
“We’re really trying to create a really cool wine experience that we would want to go to ourselves,” he said.
Revolution will replace The Feed Bag pet store in the Pike at Belmont building as Angela Pfeil’s pet supply business goes mobile after 21 years of business on the Hill. “We’re not going anywhere, we’re going everywhere,” Pfeil told CHS. “I’m changing the business to fit the needs of the community.”
The block was once home to another bottle shop — Pike Street Beer and Wine — which shuttered amid some shuffling on the block back when Sun Liquor moved in and The Feed Bag expanded. The Hill lost a wine shop earlier this year as Boylston store Vino Verite pulled out and moved to Columbia City. Meanwhile, retail opportunities for buying alcohol of a sudsier variety are about to increase. The Growl Store is preparing to open a beer filling station-filled shop on E Madison and The Euro Pub and bottle shop is slated to open on Broadway on the same block as Dick’s next week. UPDATE: Hey Euro Pub fans, soft opening Friday (tonight, 9/18!) at 6 PM.
15th Ave E’s EVS and its extended, one-of-a-kind partnership is currently the only dedicated wine shop on Capitol Hill in a neighborhood currently focused an entirely different kind of intoxication.
While the atmosphere for Revolution will be part of the equation, possibly the biggest difference from a traditional wine store that they are shooting for is the price point. Every bottle in the store will be priced between $10 and $40.
While more typical wine shops will carry wines in that range, they’ll also have bottles that run into the hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars. But Brown cited a study by IRI, a market research company, which stated that 94% of people never buy a bottle priced above $30. Those super high-priced bottles, he said, more reflect the shop owner’s desire to drink status-symbol wine, and to upsell their customers.
“I think it’s disheartening to see a bunch of that stuff on the shelf,” he said.
He’s also not planning to push cheap bottles. Brown worked in the wine industry, and his experience there led to the price range he has planned at the shop. The fixed costs of a wine, including things like the cost of the bottle and shipping come to about $5, so when you factor in things like the distributor and retailer mark-up, cheap wine ends up showing why it’s so cheap.
“When you pay $8 for a bottle of wine, about $1 is invested in the wine itself,” he said. So he set the minimum threshold at $10. And on the other end, he said that at the $40 level, the winemaker has access to all of the same tools that he would at the $100 and up level.
“Within the wine industry, there’s no need to pay over 40 bucks,” he said. “You can get the highest quality wine right at that price point.”
He acknowledges that there can be incredible wines that justify very high prices, but since they are out of the reach of most consumers, he doesn’t plan to carry them.
He does expect to carry a selection of about 250 different wines of assorted varieties and regions, with a bit of a skew toward red wines, since that’s what most people drink. While there will be wines from around the world, he also plans to focus mostly on Washington wines.
Besides the retail component, there will also be a wine bar in the shop. He’ll serve a selection of cheeses and charcuterie to go with the wine. He also expects to offer wines by the glass, though he hasn’t yet decided how many options there will be.
Brown and his wife had first looked at opening the store in South Lake Union, but after the Mount Baker residents walked around there, they found the area wasn’t really what they were looking for. But Capitol Hill’s more vibrant scene quickly attracted them.
“We really wanted to be in Pike/Pine,” he said.
And after nine months of looking, they are, landing the location at 518 E Pike St. Brown expects Revolution Wine to open in January.