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    Bit to Do

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    “A liquor store doesn’t have to be a place where you go and grab a handle of vodka to share that night. It can be, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t have to be,” said Mason McFarland, General Manager of Louisville’s newest liquor store.

    True to this approach, Bottled, 412 W Oak St, is unlike the typical liquor stores you’ll find in Louisville. Snuggled next to neighborhood staple The Rudyard Kipling, Bottled is a new kind of shop for Old Louisville residents. There are no boxes of liquor sitting in stacks, there are no 40s waiting in the fridge and, instead of shelves stuffed with rows of bottles, you’ll find modular shelves, each separated and dedicated its own curated product. 

    “Really, we were just trying to simplify what you usually see in liquor stores – it tends to be a lot of stacks of things. You kind of tiptoe around and hope you don’t knock any expensive bottles over. So, we’re sort of hoping that we’ve kind of eliminated that issue and have kind of a cleaner, more minimum experience,” says McFarland. 

    The store, a project that only came about in October, 2014, is home to a curated collection of spirits, wine and craft beers that have been hand-picked by McFarland and staff. What does it take to make the cut? Without question: quality. The store stocks what the staff has chosen as the best wines and spirits at each price point, as well as an extensive selection of “differently delicious beers,” including local favorites from Against the Grain, BBC and New Albanian.

    The stock isn’t static, as is the case with many liquor stores. Instead, the staff at Bottled will continue to seek out new and quality product to sell in the store. “Most of what’s in here was chosen by me [McFarland]. I had a lot of help though. We had a bunch of people come in and talk to use about what they wanted to see. As the inventory grows, the staff will have a lot to do with that, too. And it’s going to be flexible – we’re not afraid to rotate anything out." 

    The new store is in stark contrast to the business that previously occupied the space. Louisville designer Michael Barry and local company Prince Custom Cabinet have, in just a couple of months, turned an old corner liquor store into a clean and modern space. McFarland says, “I think it says a lot about a place when you can walk about and immediately start drinking what you just bought. It’s not necessarily something bad, but it says something.” 

    Unfortunately, the businesses that have largely made up the neighborhood’s liquor sales have not served the majority of people living in Old Louisville. “It seems to be the case that there are a lot of people in Old Louisville who drive out of the neighborhood just to go get good beer or good bourbon, and I’d rather those people come here. I don’t see why they would have to leave. Old Louisville’s great, it needs this sort of thing,” said McFarland, who is himself an Old Louisville resident.

    Maddie Baker, an employee at Bottled is a prime example of this Old Louisville conundrum; “I live here and when he told me about it, I was really excited because I was one of the people that drove out of the neighborhood to get good beer. My roommate works at 2 breweries and we’re always looking for places that have good beer… I’m excited to be part of something new for the neighborhood.”

    Though Bottled is officially open for business, the site is still finishing up construction and bringing in the last of its supply orders. It has the capacity to stock 80 wines and spirits, as well as up to 150 craft beers. At present, the store is about 60 percent stocked.“We’re still getting our footing. We’re just in the early phases right now. We don’t have everything out on the shelves yet. We’re doing a little bit of a soft opening… We’ve called it a grand opening but what it really is is, we have opened and now we know we have to go from here.”

    Fully stocked or not, Bottled is something that the residents of Old Louisville have been waiting for – a quality place to pick up a bottle of something nice, sans the stress and mess.



    Photos: Michelle Eigenheer

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    About Michelle Eigenheer

    A Louisville transplant beginning to appreciate all the city's small things.

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