If you’re like me, you love to walk into a new liquor store and gaze wide-eyed down the aisles stocked full of glistening bottles (of bourbon particularly). It’s a rush for the senses. All those choices. The anticipation. What’s new? What’s marked down? What will entice my palate today? Is this a day for multiple purchases or merely a reconnaissance mission for future visits? Clearly, it’s more than an errand for me. It’s an event!
With joy abounding what could pull the plug on my excitement and drain the hopes of such an anticipated shopping experience?…Bullet-proof, plexi-glass vault style enclosures! That’s right these…
Look, I completely understand why these obnoxious partitions are in place. I get it…they serve the purpose of safety, security and the protection of merchandise. However, they are, in my opinion, an eyesore and a bit ridiculous. Granted, I’ve not seen such an array (above) in any of the liquor stores near me but I did have the unfortunate experience of patronizing a store, locally, that had all of their spirits behind the counter and, yes, behind bullet-proof glass. The wine and mixers were out in the open for all to peruse, but the good stuff was behind the intimidating plexi-glass wall of doom. Dumbfounded and taken aback I pondered “Where am I?…What is going on around here?” I actually became obstinate. “How dare they?” Don’t they know that I can’t shop in such an environment. It’s unfortunate that even in semi-rural Maryland such precautions need to be in place.
You see, I can’t just gaze at my bourbon through a hazy plastic wall. Much like a bibliophile needs to hold a book in his hands, feel the thickness of each page, I need to hold the bottle, feel it’s weight, pore over the label. By no means do I want to continually request the clerk to hand me a different bottle every five minutes because I can’t make up my mind. Most of the time there is a language barrier and, to no fault of their own, they have no clue on how to be helpful in answering any of my questions, should I have any. Frankly the whole process is annoying and I am not the only one who thinks so.
In 2017, a Philadelphia councilwoman introduced a bill requiring the complete removal of the bullet-proof glass partitions from beer-liquor-deli establishments in the city. The councilwoman cited “we want to make sure that there isn’t this sort of indignity, in my opinion, to serving food through a plexi-glass only in certain neighborhoods.” Good for her! I agree totally. And her use of the word indignity is spot on. That’s how I felt. However, her bill has been met with much backlash…and I see why. As I mentioned before, those partitions are there for a purpose. Those stores provide a service to their communities and the partitions provide a continuance of the stores ability to serve their communities. But it doesn’t mean that I have to like it or support it.
So, my resolution is to simply not patronize the establishments that armor up with these bullet proof partitions. Honestly, this is not a referendum on the stores in particular, it’s more of a preference for my sake moving forward. I am The Bourboneer and I clearly have a problem (more of a specific taste) when it comes to buying bourbon. But I’d be willing to believe that most of you who love bourbon as I do, would care to only visit those establishments who don’t segregate their spirits from their consumers. Am I wrong?
Anyway, happy new year and may you partake in your favorite spirit (as long as its bourbon) from any establishment you’d like. I am just here to offer my beliefs and recommendations as The Bourboneer. God bless!
Bourbon enjoyed while writing this article: Jim Beam Distiller’s Cut, 50% ABV or 100 proof, Aged 5-6 years. James Beam Distilling Co., Clermont, KY.
References: Daily Wire:“Philadelphia City Council Votes In Favor Of Looking Into Banning Bullet-Proof Barriers From ‘Beer Deli’ Stores in Dangerous Neighborhoods.” Frank Camp, , December 15, 2017.