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BevMo! fans line up around block for Lodi store’s opening

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Dan Evans/News-Sentinel

John Delp of Lodi examines a bottle of Red Rocket Ale before placing it in his basket at BevMo! on Kettleman Lane in Lodi on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.

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BevMo! opened Friday morning with hundreds of people waiting in line to get a glimpse of the new store on Kettleman Lane near Walmart and Food-4-Less.

The store welcomed cusomters and gave out gift bags worth $50 to the first 500 in line.

The store features more than 1,500 wines — including local varietals — 1,700 beers and 1,700 spirits along with gourmet food items, cocktail mixers and bar accessories.

The store will have special tastings and events all weekend to celebrate their opening.

Below is a glimpse into the BevMo! opening:

The first in line

Starting at 5 a.m., James Takahashi was in line at the Lodi BevMo! location with his newspaper and a small collapsible chair.

Having been at the Stockton BevMo! grand opening more than six years ago, Takahashi knows what it takes to wait for hours for one of his favorite stores. He was most excited about Michael~David wines at the store.

“I wanted to check out the selection they have, and I know local winemakers are pouring,” he said.

The district manager

As the line for BevMo! wrapped around the block, district manager Jill Doe said she had no worries that people would show up for the grand opening.

“We call them BevMo! fans. Rain, snow, sleet or hail, they’re coming out,” Doe said.

This is the fourth store Doe has opened this year, and she will be opening up a location in Santa Monica next week.

She stressed that everyone will find something they enjoy at the new store.

“We have something for every palette, from the beginner drinker to the more experienced,” Doe said.

Because people often buy beer, wine and spirits when they are having a baby, getting married or enjoying other life celebrations, Doe said the employees becomes a part of their customers’ lives.

“We are your neighborhood beverage store. We want to know your name,” she said.

The cheer

When the store first opened, store employees led a cheer in front of the crowd.

“Pump it up — Pump the BevMo! kegs right up!

“Shake it up — Shake those BevMo! cocktails up!

“Mix it up — Mix those BevMo! spirits up!

“Drink it up — Drink that VP wine right up!

“Raise it up — Raise the CES (customer effort score) score up!

“Open up — Lodi’s BevMo!’s opened up!”

The winery

Members of Delicato Family Vineyards were pouring Gnarly Head for eager customers as they streamed into the store.

The wine, which is the No. 1 selling Zinfandel in the United States, is among other local wines sold at BevMo!, including Klinker Brick and Michael~David, said Holly Evans, director of public relations for DFV.

“It seems like this store is supporting local vintners,” she said.

The winery also wanted to be a major part of BevMo! opening in Lodi because the Indelicato family started their wines in Lodi in 1924 and still grow grapes here.

“This is really our home and roots. We love Lodi,” she said.

BevMo! Cellar Master Wilford Wong is a wine expert and tastes more than 8,000 wines a year. He approves every wine before it is sold at BevMo!, so Evans said it was an honor when he chose Gnarly Head.

“It’s a testament to our quality of wine. Wilford Wong is known as being tough, so that means a lot to us,” Wong said. “We are really proud that he has enough confidence in our quality of wine to support us.”

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com.

8 images

Dan Evans/News-Sentinel

John Delp of Lodi examines a bottle of Red Rocket Ale before placing it in his basket at BevMo! on Kettleman Lane in Lodi on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.

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