Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Under Construction: Bridger's Bottle Shop

Aaron Beatty talks about what to expect from Bridger's.
Bridger's Bottle Shop has made some waves since announcing back in January that they're opening up in time for St. Patrick's day. Their space is in Westport where America's Pub use to be - and they're building it out in two parts. The corner spot on Westport Rd and Mill St will be the entrance to Bridger's Bottle Shop and back on Mill St there will be an entrance to the their other venture, Off-Key, a private-room karaoke bar.

Eric Flanagan is spearheading Bridger's Bottle Shop along with Aaron Beatty and Philip Thies, and they were kind enough to invite us down to check out the space a little while back. You've likely heard that they'll be serving up over 600 bottles from their two massive coolers - what's interesting is that they plan on organizing them in reference to style and not the traditional way, by brewery.

Most of the cooler space will be taken up with single bottle offerings, encouraging everyone to pick a six pack of their own when they're taking it to-go. While you can take your beer to go, they will have tables if you choose to drink there and partake in their other offerings - like their Local-Pig sandwiches, cheese boards, and pickled vegetables. They'll also have a small set of taps that are consistently rotated with popular and seasonal offerings - so customers should expect to see something new every time they visit.

They're foregoing the "bar" model by embracing a market like style where you pick your beers and "check-out" through a register. There won't be any bar seats, so you won't have to fight for that small window to reach in and get the bartender's attention. Impressively enough they have also decided to disregard tipping, and instead are paying their staff an actual wage. I think that's pretty cool.

Bridger's will be managed by Erica Pyles, a certified cicerone who has spent time working for our Flying Saucer as well as Yard House. All food inside the market will be managed by Alex Pope and Andrew Heimburger, included beer dinners hosted periodically.

Talking to the guys I could tell they're headed in the right direction to impress Kansas City's beer community - they're very much interested in listening to what is wanted. We talked a little bit that day about what could be done to really put this place over the top, I mentioned I'd like to see some place where growler fills could happen - I know a lot of that has to do with licensing, but if I could get a fresh growler of Two-Hearted sometime, that would just send me over the moon.

Birdger's is asking what would you like to see in a bottle shop Kansas City. They've particularly asked about a rewards program - do you want rewards like your name on the wall? Would you want a coffee-shop style punch-card? Do you want your loyalty reward to be the ability to have access to limited releases? Anything else you'd like to see a bottle-shop do? Please let us know in the comments and we'll pass it along to the guys at Bridger's.

We'll let you know how they're doing as they get closer to opening. In the meantime, check out their Facebook page for updates and leave any input you'd like for them to hear in our comments section.

7 comments:

  1. Something I'd love to see in a beer cooler is an info card for each beer, listing its style, ABV, and ingredients (more and more people are becoming savvy to types of hops, malts, and yeast). And if they could also list the "bottled on" or "best by" dates on this card, that'd be great too.

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    1. James - We are going to try to fit as much info on the card/tag, within reason. We'd like to hit all the key points, some of which you've noted, without being redundant and hard to read. Thanks for the advice. - Eric, BBS

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  2. So excited to see this place open, but I must admit to being skeptical to the organization by style. Styles can often be pretty loose, and my primary concern when looking through a massive collection of bottles is finding stuff. Doing that is so much easier by brewery than it is by style.

    But I will keep an open mind :-)

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    1. I go back and forth too. MDL on 95th organizes their bombers by style too. It is a little annoying if you're trying to find if they have a specific beer that you're looking for, but it does help with discovering new beers and for comparing prices on similar beers. Then again, it's not like any of us really look at the price of a beer before we buy it anyway... And hopefully with a Cicerone managing the shop, the beers will be grouped more by their character rather than their rote descriptions.

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  3. The fact that I won't have to fight a mess of people to get ignored by a bartender handing out free drinks to their friends already has me loving this place. Westport isn't even worth going out to on weekends because of that. Now it might be.

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  4. I can tell by the beard that this guy is serious about beer

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  5. Should've just franchised a Bier Station location in Westport. I don't see the difference other than Bridger's will apparently have less beers on tap.

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