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Vintage Cellar

Submitted by on August 15, 2009 – 8:24 AMNo Comment
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vinestransparentBlacksburg, VA – What started out as a seafood shop that happened to have some exotic beers and wine slowly morphed into a legitimate alternative for those people bored by the mundane offerings of their local grocery or liquor store. No longer a restaurant, Vintage Cellar now specializes in hundreds of unique beers, wines, and food.

Vintage Cellar has been selling beers for more than 25 years. They carry about 600 main selections including international beers from Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Greece and Spain, in addition to domestic brews. “There are a lot [of kegs] available. We don’t stock them all, but we do list them,” President and founder Keith Roberts, said.

To help the business grow, Roberts says he looks for sales and closeouts in the industry. “A few weeks ago a wholesaler was moving, and we bought several cases, selling them less than half the price. We have some cases going for $7.95. And these were normally going for $20-60.”

Vintage Cellar store front.

Vintage Cellar store front

Since Vintage Cellar is located 10 miles off of interstate 81 in southwestern Virginia and about five hours away from Richmond and Northern Virginia, Roberts says deliveries are difficult.

Roberts explored other ways in boosting sales. Through their website, Vintage Cellar allows customers to conveniently purchase beer online almost anywhere in the country. This method brings in 10 – 15% of sales. Despite the economic recession, Roberts said that their business has seen a steady increase. “We joke, ‘When is beer season?’ People drink when the economy is good and they drink when the economy is bad. Last month we had several thousand sales.”

Vintage Cellar also attracts customers with savings and by holding regular tastings. Beer tastings are held a minimum of once a week. “We try to get breweries and importers to come in and taste their beers. They’re going to know more about their beer than anyone so they’re the perfect person to pour it,” Roberts said. He also mentioned that the most popular tastings tend to be the ones that focus on local businesses, such as the local brewery, Shooting Creek. People who like to support Blacksburg and neighboring counties come to these events.