New Ownership at Premier

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New Ownership at Premier

Post by PEIBeerGuy » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:18 pm

I don't know if this has been mentioned on here yet, or if it's old news to some, but Premier Wines & Spirits has been purchased by a new owner who supposedly has "deeper pockets"... hopefully meaning even better selection in the future?
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by BobbyOK » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:37 pm

I find that scary. Deep pockets may just mean "rich guy who wants to make a faster buck". Where did you hear that?

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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by HPhunter » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:16 am

I talked to Gord last week. He didn't know much about it yet.
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by PEIBeerGuy » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:26 am

BobbyOK wrote:I find that scary. Deep pockets may just mean "rich guy who wants to make a faster buck". Where did you hear that?
My wife phoned them two nights ago to put in an Xmas order for my cousin to pick up for her to give to me (if that makes sense). Whoever was on the phone mentioned it, and seemed to not know much about it yet either.
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by wortly » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:37 am

I believe you meant to say "cousint".

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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by PEIBeerGuy » Thu Dec 12, 2013 11:12 am

wortly wrote:I believe you meant to say "cousint".
(said with an in-breath) - Yep.
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by jeffsmith » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:00 pm

PEIBeerGuy wrote:
wortly wrote:I believe you meant to say "cousint".
(said with an in-breath) - Yep.
(And a slight head twitch) Yep.

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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by Brewnoser » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:38 pm

I've been chatting with one of the key people involved in the takeover, and he assures me that they do not intend on changing the beer selection at Premier other than hopefully adding more.

There is a mini scandal going on in town over their wholesale guy, who was selling wine and beer to restaurants, having been laid off, and now attempting to organize some sort of "boycott" by his former clients. I don't understand that.

I know Gord at Premier is upset over the timing of the takeover, and he has mentioned some things not being re-ordered. The story from the new owner is that the only things not re-ordered were products both groups carried before and that were already in their warehouse. They say that some orders had been cut back because of cash flow problems at Premier, but that was before their purchase and between Premier and the NSLC, who were their warehouser.

The bottom line for we beer lovers is that for now it seems the new owner has the common sense to recognize the value of the beer trade there, and that it represents a lot of the value they paid for.

That's how I understand things for now.

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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by Jimmy » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:42 pm

I thought I recall someone mentioning it was purchased by the people who own Harvest Wine & Spirits. Any truth to that?
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by Brewnoser » Thu Jan 09, 2014 2:01 pm

Oh, sorry, yes. In a way. The rules say no one entity can control more than one private store license. Mickey MacDonald, the same guy who bought the Chickenburger, who is connected by marriage to the Risley family, I believe, bought Cristall and Luckett Wine Merchants (the private store in Sunnyside Mall) when Pete Luckett opened his winery (you can't own both a producing license and a sales license other than the one at your premises, unless you're Moosehead). He turned that into Cristall Wine Merchants. Then "his son" bought Harvest Wine and Spirits, and they have been running them pretty well as one, sharing a bonded warehouse, ordering larger amounts, selling common products etc. That store location has been moved over to Portland Street in Dartmouth now. Tis latest thing is a purchase of Premier Wine and Spirits by "a close friend". IN reality it is being brought into the fold, eliminating duplication of some staff roles, and providing Premier with the needed warehouses space, as the NSLC was apparently booting them out of theirs. So they all are about to be be run as one, in cooperation between the three "different" owners.

Needless to say, some people (Bishops Cellar) are very unhappy, as they have been trying to get an outlet for the Valley approved for some time, and have not been allowed to.

The fear is that they homogenize the beers and dilute the quality. The hope is that more good beers are available in locations other than Spring Garden Place. The reality seems to be, for now anyway, that the existing Premier location will remain as "beer central" with some other brands at the other outlets. Howe Sound, for instance, is at Harvest, and no where else, so it may appear at Premier.

That's all I know.
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by HPhunter » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:42 pm

I got some weird vibes today during my interactions. After telling me they had customers asking for my beer they asked me for samples. Thought I could put them in the mail as I didn't feel the drive was worth it. Not sure what's going on there yet but hope to have somewhere you city folks can give my beer a hook!
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by mr x » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:44 pm

How are you packaging? Bombers I assume...
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by Keith » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:53 pm

If not Jeff, we may have to setup a underground railroad to move your beer to the city haha. :cheers2:
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by HPhunter » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:21 pm

500ml bottles for now. Something else coming later this month!
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by akr71 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:34 pm

Keith wrote:If not Jeff, we may have to setup a underground railroad to move your beer to the city haha. :cheers2:
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by BobbyOK » Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:28 am

Brewnoser wrote:Oh, sorry, yes. In a way. The rules say no one entity can control more than one private store license. Mickey MacDonald, the same guy who bought the Chickenburger, who is connected by marriage to the Risley family, I believe, bought Cristall and Luckett Wine Merchants (the private store in Sunnyside Mall) when Pete Luckett opened his winery (you can't own both a producing license and a sales license other than the one at your premises, unless you're Moosehead). He turned that into Cristall Wine Merchants. Then "his son" bought Harvest Wine and Spirits, and they have been running them pretty well as one, sharing a bonded warehouse, ordering larger amounts, selling common products etc. That store location has been moved over to Portland Street in Dartmouth now. Tis latest thing is a purchase of Premier Wine and Spirits by "a close friend". IN reality it is being brought into the fold, eliminating duplication of some staff roles, and providing Premier with the needed warehouses space, as the NSLC was apparently booting them out of theirs. So they all are about to be be run as one, in cooperation between the three "different" owners.

Needless to say, some people (Bishops Cellar) are very unhappy, as they have been trying to get an outlet for the Valley approved for some time, and have not been allowed to.

The fear is that they homogenize the beers and dilute the quality. The hope is that more good beers are available in locations other than Spring Garden Place. The reality seems to be, for now anyway, that the existing Premier location will remain as "beer central" with some other brands at the other outlets. Howe Sound, for instance, is at Harvest, and no where else, so it may appear at Premier.

That's all I know.
Egad. The whole case for privatization expanding choice falls apart because some rich dickhead wants to own it all. Wonderful.

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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by Brewnoser » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:26 am

As an update this is now looking a bit precarious for beer lovers. All along I've noted that the good beer supply revolved around the one person who'd taken an interest in it. Gord. He seems to have established relationships with the suppliers that are based on personal trust as much as his employer's payment practices.

And he'd managed to parlay that into a good personal income with sales bonuses. The new owner apparently either didn't understand this or assumed that Gord didn't have any real leverage. They offered him much less than he was making and he declined. So right now there is no one there who knows much more about beer beyond Corona. The other people at Premier who knew anything were let go. Unless Oliver, their sommelier who was in Europe with family, returned to find his job still intact.

Gord claims to have contacted many of his former suppliers with the intent of continuing to deal with them via another license. But unless that's the NSLC proper, I don't think the rules around private stores allow a product with one store to be sold by another until it's been in the market for a set period. Two years?

Regardless, the probability of seeing a beer section like that Premier had in November is now very much in doubt. It will rest in whether the new owner truly wants to maintain the market position the store enjoys in beer (and the apparent income that generated) and whether the suppliers will be more loyal to the dollar than to Gord.

As with most of these things the answer will probably end up somewhere in between, with a reduced selection at Premier and Gord scratching out something at Bishops Cellar or even at the NSLC.

Not great for the beer lover in the short term, but arguably better in the long term as this does tend to point out the vulnerability of having only one person bringing in decent beers.

This also completely concurs with Bobby's assessment of this entire buyout being the opposite end result if what the NSLC and the Provincial government at the time intended to accomplish by creating private store licenses. I can tell you that in my experience it is common, if not prevalent, for government employes, when playing at being real business people, to write rules and policies that result in the opposite effect they intended when trying to control the private sector, about which they know nothing.
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by Jimmy » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:35 am

Not good.

As I mentioned at the meeting, when I was in last Tuesday the beer selection was pretty slim. There were a ton of empty holes, and many of the beers that they did have, only had a few bottles on the shelf. I asked the guy working what was up with the lack of beer, and his response was that they noticed a lack of 12 packs, so they are going to start bringing some in (such as the Pumphouse Lager that he pointed to as a being a new beer they weren't carrying before....)
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by Jayme » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:16 am

Yeah pretty disappointing to hear... I see that sort of thing all over the place in NS though (I'm assuming other places are guilty of this too): pay crap wages and lose all the good talent. Employers fail to see that paying fair wages will make them more money in the long run. Sure someone else will fill Gord's shoes I'm sure, but by the time they're up to speed and perhaps starting to order good beer, that person will quit for a better job and the cycle starts all over.

Hopefully Bishops can pick up where Premier left off...? Maybe...?
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by mr x » Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:33 am

I think Jeff makes a good point about counting on a one man show.

And as always, consolidation equals reductions in staff.

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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by Brewnoser » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:47 pm

I am pleased to see you got a good likeness for your avatar image, X.
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by brufrog » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:23 pm

This is all very disconcerting...
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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by mikeorr » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:06 pm

I think the next few times I'm in the area of Premier, I'll have to drop in and wander around the noticeably bare beer shelves, comment to the staff on the lacking selection/availability and walk out without buying anything. Maybe if it happens enough times.... ?

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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by jonathanwil » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:19 pm

Hi All,

Stumbled upon the thread and wanted to give some first-hand insight...

First off, let me tell you I understand your concern. Change is scary, as we all know. Second of all, let me tell you that contrary to what some scorned former employees (not all, but some) have been saying, we have no intention on diminishing the beer selection at Premier. In fact, we want to grow it. I know it is easy to blame the new owner for recent stock-outs, but it simply isn't the case. The supply chain in NS is a long one, and unless the product is somewhat local, it takes time to get here (months, usually), not to mention that the processing of incoming orders slows to a crawl during December. Recent beer-friendly licensees have also added pressure to what were already low stocks, not to mention a really busy December in-store.

We've got staff at Premier that have been dying to get more involved with the beer selection and sourcing in order to satisfy their customers, and have the knowledge base more than handled. We will work with current suppliers and continue to source new selections to on the cutting edge. Furthermore, we would love feedback on what else we should stock that we aren't currently from you, the beer lovers. No promises can be made as far as guaranteeing suppliers, but I can I promise we will try. Crowd-sourced beer does have a cool ring to it. We will be working with Gord and the suppliers he will represent to continue to bring great products in, especially from here in Canada.

I'll watch the form closely and we will update as new product arrives.

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Re: New Ownership at Premier

Post by mikeorr » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:34 pm

jonathanwil wrote:First off, let me tell you I understand your concern. Change is scary, as we all know. Second of all, let me tell you that contrary to what some scorned former employees (not all, but some) have been saying, we have no intention on diminishing the beer selection at Premier. In fact, we want to grow it.
Glad to hear it, thanks for providing your insights. We look forward to seeing an ever-growing beer scene in Nova Scotia.

Michael.

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