New specialty store could make Oakdale a craft beer destination

Specialty and craft beer connoisseurs in the east metro will soon have a reason to celebrate as a new Oakdale store promises to offer as many as 1,000 different brew options on any given day.

But don’t plan on picking up a case of Bud Light at the soon-to-be-open Four Firkins in Oakdale -- they won’t be selling anything produced in mass quantity.

The store will serve as a major hub for beer snobs in the east metro and western Wisconsin. Owner Jason Alvey has enjoyed success at his Four Firkins store in St. Louis Park and plans to bring the same concept to Oakdale.

The Oakdale store will be located at 8338 N. Third St. -- near the Woodbury border just north of Interstate 94 off the Inwood Avenue exit. The Oakdale City Council approved an off-sale liquor license for the store last month, and Alvey says he anticipates the store will open sometime in September. 

The Four Firkins will not sell wine or spirits, just craft beer.

The Brewers Association reports that 2013 saw a 20 percent leap in craft beer sales, which now account for over 8 percent of all beer sales in the U.S. -- a trend expected to continue.

Alvey says roughly 30 percent of the beer he buys is from overseas, mostly from countries with a rich beer-making history like England, Belgium and Germany. The other 70 percent comes from small breweries across the U.S., including many from Minnesota, where Alvey says he and his staff have a good relationship.

He says his St. Louis Park store offers the largest selection of craft beers in the Midwest, drawing in customers from Minnesota and neighboring states. The store even had a visit from a Trappist monk from the Netherlands recently who came in to check out the extensive beer collection.

“If you’re at all involved with the craft beer scene you have undoubtedly heard of us. Brewers visit us from all over,” Alvey says.

The native Australian business owner says the 2,200-square-foot St. Louis Park store is decorated more like an English pub than a liquor store -- complete with dark oak woodwork, antiques, framed artwork, an Abbey Register and even a Minnesota beer history museum.

The Oakdale store will be a bit smaller at 1,500 square feet but Alvey says it will have many of the same features. His staff will rotate between stores and hold regular beer tastings and classes on brewing.

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at jnielsen@lillienews.com or 651-748-7822.

 

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