There was no shortage of unknowns when Washington privatized the liquor industry back in June. Would people drink more hard liquor than beer? Would people drink more, period? Would the costs go up or down?
We know the answer to most of those questions now, but what about the people who worked at those stores as state employees?
At least some of those people would end up at places like Good Spirits, a new locally owned and operated liquor, beer and wine store with two locations in Spokane. Mike Serpinas a co-manager of Good Spirits’ north Spokane location on Francis (the other spot is downtown on Third Street) was an employee at a state-owned store before making the shift when the new laws went into effect. He says there are six former state employees within the Good Spirits ranks and that those workers were able to bring the knowledge they’d amassed under the state system to boutique liquor stores like this one.
The idea with Good Spirits is to give customers what they can’t get from their grocery store liquor aisles. Most of that comes from service and knowledge, says Serapinas. This means keeping hard-to-find Scotches (more than 100 of them), bourbons and other spirits on hand and having employees around who can tell you the difference between them. Also, the store hosts beer and wine tastings to educate its clientele and staff.
“When we do beer tastings, I make sure I’m in the front row to learn for myself,” says Serapinas. “Tastings are education and that is priceless. We want to show people that there’s more to it than just popping the top and drinking.”
The store’s north location keeps around 200 different 22-ounce bottles of beer on hand. Then, there are six beer taps on hand at the north store for customers to get a grab-and-go growler of beer. During happy hour (Monday-Thursday, 3-5 pm; all day Sunday) 64-ounce growlers go for $14. At other times it’s $17. The tap-beer-to-go phenomenon from retail outlets is catching on in places like Seattle and Portland, but is only slowly showing up in Spokane, says Serapinas.
“We have our dedicated following and we’re happy to see that grow,” he says.
Good Spirits • North: 1804 W. Francis Ave, 327-0755 • Downtown: 1322 W. 3rd St., 624-1447 • Open Mon-Sat from 10 am-8 pm, Sun from noon-5 pm • goodspiritsWA.com