Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics NovDec 2018

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

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12 Beverage Dynamics • May/June 2017 Q uestion: Where might you fi nd what's considered one of the largest tequila and mezcal retailers in the U.S. and Mexico? The answer may surprise you: look to the Midwest. Specifi cally, to Chicago's Little Village neighborhood on the city's West Side. Here, Moreno's Liquors has catered to the Latino market for more than 40 years. It currently boasts more than 700 varieties of tequila, and nearly 500 types of mezcal. The family-owned retailer has become a prominent fi x- ture in the community, as well as a destination for customers in search of distinct products that are not readily available elsewhere. By offering many educational programs and events, constantly bringing in new products and preparing to expand the business to include a speakeasy in the coming months, Moreno's Liquors remains a powerhouse in this ex- tremely competitive market. A UNIQUE CONCEPT Mike Moreno Sr. spent the early part of his life helping out at his father's grocery store. In 1977, he decided to embark in a new direction and open a liquor store — and thus More- no's Liquors was born. Determined to compete with discount retailers and carve a unique niche for himself in the market, Moreno and his wife, Rose, decided to focus their efforts on cultivating the most diverse selection of Mexican spirits in the Chicagoland area. As the years passed, the store gained popularity and contin- ued expanding its product offerings. Moreno's Liquors eventu- ally outgrew its original storefront and moved to the retailer's current 14,000-square-foot location, which features an impres- sive wall of products devoted solely to tequila and mezcal. The store now employs a total of 14 staff members. It has a reputation for robust tequila and mezcal offerings, along with a wide selection of fi ne wine, cognac, whiskey and more. Moreno's Liquors is also known for the family that steers the business. In addition to Moreno and his wife, the store is co- owned by their son, also named Mike. Overwhelmingly, the tequila and mezcal categories are the top sellers, accounting for nearly 60% of the store's total sales combined. "The store is very well known locally, nationally and across the industry for people looking for tequila and other products you aren't going to fi nd anywhere else," the younger Moreno says. "Our business model has shifted over the years as the industry has become more competitive. We try to keep things unique to just our store." Moreno's Liquors offers a large assortment of Central and South American spirits, along with a cultivated Mexican wine collection and a wide variety of craft beers. While the majority of retail space is devoted to beverages, the store also carries a selection of chips, soda, glassware, special Mexican salts for drinks and more. Limited-edition products and collaborations are another large aspect of the business. This past August, the Morenos traveled to Mexico City and sampled a variety of mezcals for How Moreno's Liquors Became a Tequila Destination—And Much More BY MELISSA SHERWIN

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