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Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Frank Rant… Joplin Liquor Stores: A Tale of Two Extremes

I’m on a rant, today. It’s a rant I’ve been on before, but I’m on it, again, today.

Here’s the back-story… Boulevard Brewing Company, out of Kansas City, has a special release beer called Chocolate Ale. It was to be very limited, hard to find, and would hit stores on January 31, of this year. Boulevard put out a statement on their website that because of the glorious three-tier distribution system (I’ll rant more about in another post, so long story short, today), in which they cannot sell their beer directly to stores, they have to rely on a distributor of the “Big Three” to get their product into stores. Well, because of this, Boulevard shipped out their Chocolate Ale release to the independent distributors in early January, with suggested instructions to not stock it on shelves until January 31st, the set release date.

On Friday, January 20th, I was in a local liquor store, Macadoodles Fine Wine, Beer, & Spirits, purchasing some beverages for a dinner/game night that we were having on Saturday evening. Something caught my eye… It was a display of Boulevard Chocolate Ale. I had read about the elusiveness and issues with this release on KC Beer Blog. In that instant, I hadn’t thought much about ever trying to find this beer, and was focusing on my task at hand. I walked past it to continue shopping.

Fast forward to yesterday. My wife was really interested in trying this beer, and I had a friend from the Kansas City area looking for any I could find for a relative. It had sold out in stores within hours in Kansas City on Tuesday, the 31st. Now in the past, I had been in local stores, and there had been previous Boulevard special releases stocked fully, long after they had been depleted in Kansas City. For example, the Saison-Brett 2011 release. So, it wasn’t completely absurd to call around and see if I could find any Chocolate Ale still lurking on some dusty shelves, around Joplin.

I made a stop into Macadoodles for the off-chance that they might still have a few bottles. They were out. When I asked them… I got a very kind, and regretful response. Please take note… I said kind and regretful.

Last evening, when I called another liquor store in town, that prides itself on having all the latest and greatest, the gentleman (I used this term loosely) proceeded to laugh loudly at me over the phone for a matter of several seconds, and said “Nope, man… not in this town!”

How professional do you think that is? This is just another example of the long line of un-professionalism from this other store.

Rewind to May 22nd… you already know what happened, here. Well, my regular & favorite store, Macadoodles, was part of the tornado destruction. From that point on, we were forced into having to rely upon another store in town that tried to be up on the latest craft beers, and such. It was not a pleasant experience. Over the course of several visits, I had to deal with some awkward obstacles.

The craft beer section is located in the rear of the store. It’s rather difficult to get to, and to browse. Upon one trip, I had to deal with the owner/manager’s dog being chained up in that area. I really don’t need to be examined by a dog (and cats) while trying to browse the beer. On another visit, there were two kids in the back of the store. They were obviously hanging out after school, and watching a television set up in front of one of the beer shelves. I actually tripped over the boy’s feet while trying to find a particular six-pack. He was probably 12, maybe. The girl was younger… maybe 9 or 10 years old. I don’t particularly like having to navigate around kids while trying to find my beer, either.

The day Macadoodles re-opened, I was happy to show up and check out the new store. The Assistant Manager, Carla Bethel, was on hand to chat with, and I had to let her know how excited I was for the store to be back. I also relayed some stories about the alternate routes we had to take for our craft beer. She had apparently been hearing those stories all morning!

Macadoodles Fine Wine, Beer, and Spirits is a fantastic store, completely devoted to customer service. They hold the door for you, they greet you on the way in, and they will even carry your purchases out to your vehicle. I have never left that store in a poor mood. If you have too much in your hands while you’re shopping, it never fails that someone will come by to carry some of your items to the counter while you continue shopping. The selection of craft beer, as well as an incredible selection of liquors and wines, is astounding. It appears to be even more so, since the rebuild. The staff is incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. You can sample featured wines, beers, and liquors, as well. The wine staff is always willing to lend you a suggestion, or assist you in finding a particular style or brand. And there is absolutely no snobbery in the wine department!

This is a far cry from the totally absurd behavior you will experience in some other store in Joplin. This is truly a tale of two extremes… one that laughs at you on the phone, lacks any real knowledge of latest releases, and seems to be around just to make a buck. And one that goes out of its way to make your experience top-notch, and backs it up with a satisfaction guarantee.

Am I gaining anything from this commentary? Absolutely not… In fact, it may be hurting me, if more people discover Macadoodles, and are there to snatch up all my favorite beers! This is in no way, shape, or form an advertisement. It’s simply a customer discussing and being "Frank" about his experiences in this town. Joplin is very fortunate to be home to a store like Macadoodles!

/end rant.


  1. I got some Chocolate Ale ;-). Yep, Macadoodles is the bomb! Just wish they'd decrease their wine selection and expand their beer selection...

    1. Oh, bite your tongue, Dan!! I like their wine selection.

  2. I guess you guys already heard we were going to get a Macadoodles in Springfield proper? We have the one in Republic, already, but I think this new one is going to be on that road Hooter's is on. I know you guys know which road I'm talking about. :'

    1. I know that road, but not because of Hooters! LOL

      Macadoodles will be a great addition to Springfield!

  3. Yea Frank. Nice post regarding available things to drink around here...Mac's has a nice variety, good service and the closest thing I've ever known (if I ever knew) to "Big Box". It IS always a pleasure to visit there.

    Grew up with liquor monopolies in a college town, and well, must say, you need the demand before they'll find the supply. May 22nd turned many reformed folks back to their senses. Why reform in the first place, unless prescriptions taste better to you than a good stiff drink at the end of the day.

    Four dollar pills or a a nice martini. All a matter of preference, I guess.

    Peace, Love, and Liquor is quicker,
    ARH, JoMo Fan