Beaver Liquors employs three sommeliers to help you pick the best bottle | VailDaily.com

Beaver Liquors employs three sommeliers to help you pick the best bottle

Katie Coakley
EAT Magazine

What makes an amazing liquor store? Is it the selection? The expertise of employees and their willingness to assist? The existence of a wine cellar located 14 feet underground, guaranteed to make wine taste better?

Is it a combination of all of the above?

If you’re looking for a location to purchase beer, wine and spirits for a special occasion or to stock your cellar, head to Beaver Liquors in Avon. For 40 years, this family-owned establishment has been quenching the thirst of imbibers with what is the largest wine and liquor store in the Vail Valley. Wander amongst the selection of craft beer, particularly the Colorado-based options; stroll amongst the spirits and choose your new favorite bourbon or gin. But whatever you do — don’t skip the cellar.

Situated at the aforementioned 14 feet below ground, the wine cellar is a beneficial location to store wine as it keeps it naturally cool.

“Wine is made from fruit and if you put a stock of grapes in the heat and the sun and you keep one in a nice, cool area, after a week, you know what’s going to happen in the one that’s in the sun,” Beaver Liquors Owner David Courtney says. “It’s why we have a huge advantage over everyone.”

But storing the wine in the cellar is not only beneficial for the wine he has — it’s also a selling point for the wine he wants to get. 

“In the wine business there is a lot of wine that is very, very limited,” Courtney explains. “And winemakers, they baby their wine from the vineyards to the barrel to the bottle to the truck. So when they come in and visit our valley (which a lot of them do), and they see that we have a wine cellar, they see that as a sign of respect and they’re comfortable with sending their wine to a place like ours. As a result, we are able to procure wines that other stores can’t.”

Of course, these wines are in are in great demand and Courtney may only receive a case or half case of the coveted vino; he was reluctant to disclose explicit examples. But rest assured — with such an extensive cellar, the experts at Beaver Liquor are happy to help you find your perfect wine. 

In some cases, you may be pairing with a dish; in others, you may be pairing with an activity or planning for après after an activity. If you’re searching for something refreshing after fly-fishing on the Gore or “something to drink after my hike up to Gore Lake,” consider picking up a bottle or two of rosé. Rosé wines started their meteoric rise as a favored style of summer a few years ago and Courtney says that it’s still the style of choice for summer — morning, afternoon or evening.

“Rosés have been so popular in the last five years and (initially) people did stick to the French rosé, specifically from Provence,” Courtney says. “But now that they’re used to it, they’re drinking it all the time now and branching out: They want Italian or Spanish rosés, or rosés from California or Oregon. Ten years ago, we used to have 12 rosés in the summer. This year, we’ll have more than 60 different rosés on the shelves.”

If the idea of choosing from that large of a selection is daunting, have no fear. Beaver Liquors employs three sommeliers so there’s always someone on hand to not only help you pick the best bottle, but also perhaps offer options you hadn’t considered. One of Courtney’s favorite things to do is point out vintners, styles or production areas that may not be as well-known but provide great value.

Another opportunity is to attend one of the special tasting events that Beaver Liquor hosts with Vin48 in Avon. Known as “Vinsdays,” these special events are themed and include sampling various wines paired with cuisine from Vin48. Though the pairings are still being solidified, Courtney says that the rosé tasting (which will include about 30 different rosés) will kick off the summer and the popular “Pigs and Pinot” will also definitely take place. Past themes have included a selection of volcanic wines and a head-to-head blind tasting of wines from Italy, France, South America and the U.S. Priced at around $40 for the tasting, Vinsdays are possibly the best value for vino in the valley.

So whether you have something specific in mind or simply want to wander through the racks for wine, beer or spirits, a trip to Beaver Liquors is bound to be fruitful.