Tag Archives: BevMax

Roundup: Vaccines, Liquor Stores, Real Estate, More

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How many Westporters have been vaccinated?

As of February 1, 2,289 Westport. That’s 8% of our total population.

According to Westport Patch, we have 2,094 residents over the age of 75 — the first group in line for the vaccine (along with medical personnel and first responders). Nearly 54 percent — a total of 1,095 — have received their first dose.

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Westport has plenty of small, independently owned liquor stores. Nearly every Westporter has a favorite.

Now a “superstore” has entered the mix.

Yesterday, trucks delivered supplies to BevMax’s new outlet in the former Pier 1 store — the Julien’s Pizza shopping center on Post Road East. In other words: directly opposite Castle Wine & Spirits.

BevMax has 8 locations in Fairfield and New Haven Counties, plus a nationwide shipping office in Stamford. There’s a BevMax in Norwalk, near Stew Leonard’s.

They bought the license of Saugatuck Grain + Grape, which had relocated from Railroad Place to Post Road West. The owner of a liquor store can move anywhere in Westport that zoning allows.

Last year, plans were underway to convert the entire Julien’s shopping center — except for the Bluepoint Wellness medical marijuana dispensary — into medical offices. The plaza has since reverted to retail use.

(Photo/Jack Krayson)

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The other day, “06880” posted a few “sizzling real estate” statistics. Here are a few more:

January saw a continued swift pace, despite the decrease in months of supply in inventory. Here is a quick snapshot of this past month:

  • $70,956,000 total sales, vs. $33,796,846 total January 2020 sales — a more than 100% increase.
  • 40 single-family and condo units sold in January; 25 single-family and Condo units sold in January 2020 — up 60%.
  • $1,318,000 was the median home sales price; in January 2020 it was $1,012,500. That’s more than a 30% rise.
  • The home inventory supply was 2.4 months; a year ago it was 9.3 months. That’s a 74% decrease.

The highest sale in January was a 5-bedroom, 8-bathroom home listed with Brett and Jean Lieberman at 4 Bluewater Lane: $5,125,000. (Hat tip: Jody Peters, the Riverside Realty Group)

4 Bluewater Lane

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Seven Staples High School athletes signed letters of intent yesterday to play sports at NCAA Division I universities.

Congratulations to (from left in photo below): Kevin Lynch, University of Massachusetts lacrosse; Julia DiConza, Lehigh University lacrosse; Carter Kelsey, Seton Hall University baseball; Autumn Smith, Marist College soccer; Laine Ambrose, Boston College field hockey; Shira Parower, James Madison University lacrosse; Sam Milberg, College of the Holy Cross football.

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Speaking of Staples: Composting has come to the high school cafeteria. It’s an initiative of the school’s Zero Waste Committee. Students will serve as monitors.

Composting is already underway at several Westport schools.

Greens Farms Elementary School offers 3 choices for waste. The same options are now available at Staples High.

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MoCA Westport and Up|Next Teens are partnering to present a Winter Lights Festival at MoCA. It’s set for Saturday, February 27 (noon to 6 p.m.).

The Festival features a maker and crafts space in a large outdoor tent, with supplies and step-by-step instructions for families to work together to create winter-themed decorations. The decorations will be incorporated into a walk-through Light Path, to be lit at sun down. The public can view the experience through the following weekend.

Also planned: live performances by high school musicians, food from The Melt truck, and hot cocoa.

The Festival includes free entry to MoCA ’s exhibition “Hindsight is 2020,” showcasing nearly 200 high school student artists from across the region.

Click here for tickets.

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And finally … happy birthday to Alice Cooper. He was born on this day in 1948. In other words, he’s no longer 18.

Liquor Store Chess Game: Superstore May Move Across From Castle

It’s not easy opening a liquor store in Westport.

Beyond knowing everything about all kinds of beer, wine and spirits — and about business, and the law — you need a liquor license.

There are 13 for the entire.town. All are accounted for. The only way to get one is if an existing store goes out of business. That happens about as often as you’d expect.

Castle Wine & Spirits has had a license for 25 years. From their roomy space on Post Road East — the old Boat Locker, next to the now-vacant Liberty Army & Navy store — they’ve built a large, loyal customer base.

Owned by husband and wife Craig and Marina Jensen, managed for 20-plus years by Lenore Kallay and staffed by a sharp, veteran crew that knows exactly what each customer likes (and offers new ideas of what they might like), Castle is a well-loved, under-the-radar mom-and-pop success story.

Castle Wine owner Marina Jensen and wine director Ken Maykut.

But very occasionally, one of those liquor licenses becomes available. It happened in 2018 when Saugatuck Grain + Grape — for years on Railroad Place, then Post Road West — closed.

The owner of BevMax acquired the license. They’re a “superstore” chain, with 8 locations in Fairfield and New Haven Counties, plus a nationwide shipping office in Stamford. There’s a BevMax in Norwalk, near Stew Leonard’s.

The owner of a liquor store can move anywhere in Westport that zoning allows.

The new location of BevMax is the former Pier 1 store, in the Julian’s Pizza and Rio Bravo shopping center on Post Road East.

Directly opposite Castle Wine & Spirits.

The Jensens — who opposed the move before the state liquor commission, and lost — are concerned. But they’re ready to face the competition.

“People know us,” Marina Jensen says. “We  have great products, staff and customer service. We hire local kids. We deliver.

“And we have great relationships with other liquor stores. If we don’t carry something a customer wants, we send him to Greens Farms Spirit Shop. They do the same for us.”

Castle sponsors wine tastings, and offers twice-monthly classes (up next: “California vs. France”). They work closely with local organizations, like the Westport Country Playhouse.

Wine director Ken Maykut brings in bottles not found in the big box stores or other shops in town. He’s built up the burgundy section too.

“I don’t sell wine. I educate people about it,” he says. “It’s so gratifying when someone tells me they love a bottle I suggested.”

A large selection at Castle Wine & Spirits.

Construction has not yet begun on BevMax. For now, Castle Wine & Spirits has that stretch of the Post Road to themselves.

And they look forward to new neighbors next door. A vegan restaurant is planned for the old Army & Navy spot.

No word on whether it’ll have a restaurant liquor license. If it’s BYOB, customers will know exactly where to go.