The most important ingredient of any bar is stock. A good supply of Booze is essential for smooth running. Of course we can buy from the big supermarkets and the well known brands from the big companies that they stock, and to be fair they are diversifying in the craft beer market with a good line of smaller breweries offerings. It doesnt take long to sample everything they have and find ourselves back to square one.
Thankfully we have a few excellent specialist off sales close by, backed up by, believe it or not a petrol station with an amazing drinks section and a discount retailers that throws up the odd suprise.
Situated on Belfast's Ormeau Road, The Vineyard is possibly the best Liquor Store in the City. My Humble opinion. Stocking an incredibly impressive selection of craft beer, along with spirits, it was the first to introduce Growlers to this part of the World. Its also the venue that supplied our bottle of Ruby Blue Vodka Cask Strength, which was a numbered run. Its somewhere I dont get to visit often enough, but hopefully the New Beer Year will change that
Although its doesnt currently have its own website, the company is present on Facebook.
Situated in a cluster of local businesses in Whiteabbey Village, Northern Ireland. The Lighthouse Wine Store has been a treasure trove of sought after items such as Sorachi Ale and Brooklyn Brewery Black Ops... Ssshhh.
An untapped treasure trove that we will be visiting again prior to the Festivities of Christmas.
Lighthousewines.co.uk is the independent firms online shop and gives a taste of everything this 10 years old off sales can supply
Hidden away inside a Convenience Store that also houses a Petrol Station and Hot Food Bar. This family run Centra store situated in Larne, County Antrim (approx 20 miles North of Belfast) has provided me with some of my favourite brews. Having recently expanded its off sales department, the walk in cooler is a beer drinkers candy store, ! It was the first place we found Magners with Irish Cider, O'Hara's Brewery and Kinnegar Beers. Everytime I visit I come out with something new
Home Bargains, another Larne based store. The Off License is worth a weekly visit as it often throws up a suprising addition. Tiger beer at 59p ($0.70) a bottle? 12 Magners for £6.99 ($8.38).. Rock bottom prices on quality brews. Now this may not be as productive as the others, however if patience is a virtue then it can be a goldmine. We found Angry Orchard Cider here for 69p ($0.82) a bottle, when a six pack was selling for £9.99 ($11.98) in other establishments. Not all Stores have an off sales.
So thats a quick run down of our four main suppliers. In this part of the World at least. Total Wines is one of our favourites when we are across the pond, sadly we dont get that way to often.. So if it isnt far for you to travel and you are after something special or maybe just a new brew for Christmas, the first three are certs, the last one, just takes a litte bit of luck
I am always interested to source new supplies, so if you have a recommendation or know a place that blows my liquor store out of thr water then let me know.