State Liquor Control Bringing Pop-Up Clearance Store to Columbus
The state is running a pop-up clearance liquor store this and next weekend. “Last Call,” the name attributed to the project, will consolidate all of Ohio’s delisted products at the Giant Eagle liquor store at 777 Neil Ave. The store closed last year but will keep its liquor license until the end of 2019.
Running from Oct. 18-21 and Oct. 25-28, Last Call will feature a collection that ranges between items like Smirnoff Sours Watermelon Vodka for $5.99 to Glenlivet Nadurra 16 Year for $50.99. More than 250 products will be available at 20-40 percent off, either due to new bottle labels and designs, different ingredients, or changing trends.
“They’re not used, they’re not secondhand, they’re quality, premium products that we’re just being more inventive and creative about moving,” says Jim Canepa, Superintendent of the Ohio Division of Liquor Control.
Last Call won’t offer the typical liquor store browsing experience, says Brian Ferrier, Regional Vice President of Operations at Giant Eagle. Bottles won’t be shelved according to spirit or brand, but rather presented in boxes that shoppers can sift through.
“When you go into one at Giant Eagle or any of the 80 other liquor agencies, it’s very neat, orderly, everything is on the shelf, bourbon is with the bourbon, scotch is with the scotch,” Ferrier says. “This will be quite opposite. It’s going to be set up almost like a treasure hunt.”
Ferrier is bringing out the Market District food truck for the weekend events, which will also include a raffle for some of the harder to find products. Oct.18-20 and Oct. 25, bottles of Weller 12 will be raffled off at $28 each. High West Yippee Ki-Yay, valued at $99.95, will be raffled off on Oct. 27 and 28. The raffles will also include free bourbon barrels, which will be available on Oct. 21 and 26.
Canepa says these raffles will broaden access to those higher end liquors that aren’t found at just any liquor store.
“We get from the manufacturers sometimes very small amounts of hard-to-get bourbon, or really any product, and we have 485 stores. So, how do you take 30 cases or 60 cases of something and make it available at 485 stores? You can’t,” says Canepa. “We don’t want it just to go to VIPs, so this raffle format allows people to have access and opportunity to buy hard-to-get things.”
If Last Call goes well, Canepa says the state may bring it back. They assess their inventory every six months, so depending on turnout, it might end up back at the Neil Avenue Giant Eagle or elsewhere in the state.
“The liquor agents that we have now are excited about the idea,” Canepa says. “A lot of them are interested. It jus depends on where, if they have the space, and if they have an exciting idea around the event.”
Last call will run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.