You can tell a lot about a business based on what they do in anticipation of their opening.
Sometimes they sneak in with no anticipation or fanfare (hey, when did they put a donut shop there?), sometimes they make a few announcements (hey, I remember hearing about that restaurant somewhere), and sometimes they fully integrate themselves in the community before they even make a dime (when, oh when, is BottleBOX finally going to be open???).
I won’t fault anyone who hasn’t heard about BottleBOX yet, but those of us who love beer and have been following their pre-opening happenings are anxious. Wine enthusiasts have long had the opportunity to visit wine shops that catered to discerning tastes, but craft beer “bottle shops” are few and far between. No offense meant to places like Total Wine (and more!), who have a really great selection, but the beer will always be the “more.” If you want a good example of a bottle shop around here you’re best bet is probably to head up to Colonial Williamsburg and stop in at the Hair of the DoG shop attached to the DoG Street Pub. You just feel like you’re in better hands there.
Early indications are that BottleBOX, which will soon be opening in the Palace Shops on 20th Street between Colonial and Llewellyn, is going to be even better. Let’s go back to those pre-opening clues.
The staff for BottleBOX has been showing up at events at local breweries with swag. They are clearly excited, which is good. The shop is going to have 12 rotating taps for growler fills, a carefully selected bottle selection, and other beer-related foods and goodies. Also sounds good, but anybody can say that. How do we know those taps aren’t going to be Bud Light Lime and the bottle selection won’t be Miller High Life (which is, afterall, the Champagne of beers)?
Let’s look for more clues.
Facebook posts about them going to the midwest for Dark Lord Day? This tells us that they are very, very serious about craft beer. Three Floyds Brewing’s Dark Lord Day is on many a craft beer bucket list. This also means that the first time I go to BottleBOX I am going to ask them if they have any Zombie Dust, which they probably won’t but I have to ask.
Facebook posts about giving away tickets to beer fests? That means they are nice. Their website says they will have the area’s first counter-flow growler filler? This is great news because those do so much for keeping your growler beer happy, purging the growler of beer’s terrible nemesis (oxygen) and filling them under pressure. A Facebook post about O’Connor storing their first pallet of crowler cans? Hang on a second. The crowler is something whispered about in dark rooms, a mythical machine (probably invented by da Vinci) that is like a growler filler, but instead of bottles it fills and seals cans. If they have one of those my head is going to explode.
I think we’re going to be ok, friends. Join me in getting excited about BottleBOX.
To follow along, here they are on Facebook.