- December 26, 2017
"I’m not going anywhere” were the words of Bruce Orwig, owner of D&R Beverage Center, when asked what he saw for the future of his store. And if the 2 generations that owned the shop before are any indication, he’s right. The folks of D&R are resilient in the face of change and determined to stay a premier beer destination in the Lehigh Valley area.
Heady Times (HT): How have the recent changes in legislation affected your store?
Bruce Orwig (BO): The changes have been really helpful for us. We put in a draught system with 8 tap handles and a growler station last Memorial Day. We also added coolers and shelving for 6-packs and single serve bottles. These additions have really regenerated our business; we’ve been up 20% year over year (CHECK). Physically, it’s a massive amount of work with all the SKUs but as long as we have support for the products from the wholesalers and suppliers we are good.
HT: Can you tell us more about the growler station?
BO: It’s a very unique system. I believe we are the only ones besides Tanczos in the Lehigh Valley area that have it. It pumps the beer into the growlers using counter-pressure, which limits the amount of oxygen the beer comes in contact with, allowing it to stay fresh longer- up to 45 days! We can only have one beer on at a time for this system, so we always have our draught system stocked with a healthy mix of IPAs, porters/stouts, wheat beers and various seasonals. In the summer we were going through a barrel per day, now it’s about one barrel every other day.
HT: How do you stay up-to-date on industry trends and what beers are available?
BO: We use the Heady Times on a weekly basis for ordering purposes. I also check out a lot of breweries’ websites to see what they are releasing. Another thing that’s helpful is getting to know the brand reps through samplings and they keep in touch with me regarding releases.
HT: So you also host samplings?
BO: Yes, we try to do them every Friday and Saturday around a holiday. Normally, we see a pretty significant drop in business at the beginning of the school year and when Daylight Saving’s Time begins, but this year we strategically scheduled samplings around those times and didn’t see as much of a drop. I really believe that sampling builds brands and creates traction for the brands.
HT: What makes you stand out from other retailers the most?
BO: Our selection is definitely one of them. I try to carry every product that I can get my hands and do my research so I know I’m offering a fair price. Customers all like the fact that this is a family owned and run business. My grandparents started D&R in 1965 so I grew up in the business. I have customers that I’ve known since I was a baby. That makes a difference.
4600 Easton-Nazareth Highway • Nazareth, PA • 610-759-5493