- May 30, 2017
As new laws and trends have changed the way that beer is sold in the off-premise, Dan Stevenson and Tom DiAntonio made sure to focus on one thing above all else when they opened The Beer Peddlers: adaptability. That perspective has served them well in their first full year in business. Heady Times got the chance to sit down with these two South Philly natives to reflect on the past year, what they’ve learned and how their store has changed even in that short period of time.
**Pictured from left to right: Co-owners of The Beer Peddlers Dan Stevenson and Tom DiAntonio
Heady Times (HT): How does The Beer Peddlers differ from other South Philly beer distributors?
Dan Stevenson (DS): Tom and I are lifelong residents of Pennsport, so we know the area. Everything around here is usually garage doors and bulletproof glass. We wanted to do something different. As the city and the beer industry are changing, we wanted to reflect that.
Tom DiAntonio (TD): Variety is a main focus of ours. I used to own Society Hill Beverage, and back in ’04 we had maybe 60 skus. We [The Beer Peddlers] offer over 500. Craft beer has made a big difference. You have to change with the times and be aware of what customers are looking for. People aren’t committed to one beer anymore.
HT: Speaking of change, when The Beer Peddlers opened, the industry itself was undergoing quite a change. How have you adapted?
TD: The laws were changing almost as soon as we moved in. Luckily, when we were mapping out the space, we made it as flexible as possible.
DS: Yeah, the 12 pack law hit basically as soon as we opened the doors. If we hadn’t been ready for it, we might not be open today. After the law passed, we added shelving and rearranged the store, which we think gives it a good flow. Now we offer every package available.
TD: The back half of the store is set up like a distributor, with full cases. And up front is the bottle shop. Customers can get cases, six packs, four packs, single serves. It’s all here.
HT: What inspired the atmosphere and aesthetic design of the store?
DS: We wanted to make it as clean and accessible as possible. We used reclaimed wood to construct the counter up front, which gives the place a nice feel. We get people who come in and think we’re a bar. We laugh, but that’s a testament to the design of the place.
TD: We wanted The Beer Peddlers to be very shoppable; very welcoming. Our clientele is about 70% female, which we’re very proud of. We know that sometimes distributors can be intimidating places, but not here. It’s bright, it’s clean and there’s tons of parking. Now that we’ve added growler fills, we’re providing it all.
DS: People shop differently today. They’re not just in and out, they’re on the hunt. They ask a lot of questions and want to make sure they’re getting something unique and of high quality. That’s a good thing and we’re here to help them find what they’re looking for. Our variety ensures that there’s something for everyone.
HT: Having grown up in the area, what does it mean to you both to serve your community?
DS: We wanted to give the neighborhood something to be proud of. The Philly beer scene is fluid. New breweries are leaving their mark every day, and we wanted to leave our mark.
TD: We also wanted to represent the area. 2SP, Weyerbacher, Sly Fox, Dock Street – we offer them all. A lot of out-of-towners come in looking for local beer too. We’re proud to represent the area.