The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2013

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Page 98 of 152

Maverick Meets Maverick CLYDE MAY'S ALABAMA-STYLE WHISKEY FINDS AN IDEAL HOME IN CONEY ISLAND by David Ransom / photos by Doug Young I n 2004, when Victoria Vugmayster opened Best Buy Liquors in Brooklyn's Coney Island neighborhood, she had no notion of what it took to be in the retail wine and liquor business. "We'd owned the property for decades and my husband had a tire-repair shop on the lot," says Vugmayster, "We pretty much woke up one day and said, 'Let's close the shop and build a liquor store.' " They couldn't have imagined how good an idea that was: Ten years in, they are the largest liquor store in the five boroughs, with 8,000 square feet and nearly $12 million in sales. It's one of the topgrossing stores in the state, with a clientele base that covers the NY-NJ-CT tri-state area—even reaching into eastern Pennsylvania. "People drive from pretty far away to shop with us, especially when they are planning big life events," she says, "We try to understand what our clients are looking for, and these days it's not just 1.75 liter bottles of one whiskey on the wedding bar, it's three or four different craft brands." Enter Clyde May's, the Alabama-style whiskey introduced to the New York market this year, and with its craft sensibility and approachable price point, an excellent fit for Best Buy's clientele. The store started with an initial order of 2 cases in June and has ordered a total of 20 cases as of this story in early fall. Vugmayster says sales are steady—even in a neighborhood nicknamed "Little Odessa," better known for its vodka-loving Ukrainian community. Vugmayster's goal is to provide something to everyone, and that includes building a large selection of craft-made spirits into the Best Buy lineup. Clyde's unique taste profile and backstory attracted Vugmayster, but there are additional reasons to Victoria Vugmayster at Best Buy Liquors, a top-selling retailers in Brooklyn's Coney Island neighborhood. 98  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2013 TP1113_066-107.indd 98 10/24/13 9:25 AM

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