Premier Gone Down Hill?

jason.loxton
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Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by jason.loxton » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:55 am

I just got back into Halifax (from Cape Breton) for the first time since the new owners took over. I was really pumped about buying a bunch of stuff from Premier as a reward for completing a major milestone in my PhD (the reason I was in Halifax), but the experience was really disappointing. First, the move of all the beer to the back of the place really changes your overall impression of their dedication to beer. That seemed to play out in selection, which seems to have dropped substantially (it is hard to be certain, because the layout is so different, but a number of things I was looking for were not there). Second, the prices seem to have gone up a lot, at least for a number of things that I had a clear price point in mind for. For example, Peche Mortel used to sell for $3.50 a bottle. It's now $5. The same is true of the other Dieu du Ciel beers I saw, e.g., Aphrodisiaque is also $5 a bottle. (The DDC selection, in bottles anyway, seemed to be down a lot as well.) 6 packs of Peche Mortel were about $25, up from about $18. A lot of their lower priced product was also gone, e.g., they used to have DDC and other quebec beers that came in around the $2.50 a bottle price. (Unibrouenis a major exception: $10 a 4 pack for their high gravity beers is a great deal.) Third, the staff weren't very pleasant. The guy who is often in the front with white-ish hair was very good as always, but there were two girls in the back who weren't really helpful at all, and had some big city attitude (snark and disinterest). My interactions weren't at all fun.

Anyway, left me feeling let down and kind of bummed out. Anyone else notice similar changes?

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by akr71 » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:14 am

I was there back in early June and was bummed by the selection. It wasn't bad, I was just expecting more.
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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by chalmers » Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:02 am

Good to hear your story. Frustrating, isn't it?

They still need training with many of the folks, though a shitty attitude is a bit more difficult to teach. The last time I was in, the folks there told them they were just rotating in from the other stores owned by the same people (Harvest Wines and Cristall Wines), so didn't know about the beer in that store.

Hadn't noticed the price increases, I guess when they put it up by a quarter one month, and a dime the next, you might miss it.

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by dexter » Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:18 am

jason.loxton wrote:I just got back into Halifax (from Cape Breton) for the first time since the new owners took over. I was really pumped about buying a bunch of stuff from Premier as a reward for completing a major milestone in my PhD (the reason I was in Halifax), but the experience was really disappointing. First, the move of all the beer to the back of the place really changes your overall impression of their dedication to beer. That seemed to play out in selection, which seems to have dropped substantially (it is hard to be certain, because the layout is so different, but a number of things I was looking for were not there). Second, the prices seem to have gone up a lot, at least for a number of things that I had a clear price point in mind for. For example, Peche Mortel used to sell for $3.50 a bottle. It's now $5. The same is true of the other Dieu du Ciel beers I saw, e.g., Aphrodisiaque is also $5 a bottle. (The DDC selection, in bottles anyway, seemed to be down a lot as well.) 6 packs of Peche Mortel were about $25, up from about $18. A lot of their lower priced product was also gone, e.g., they used to have DDC and other quebec beers that came in around the $2.50 a bottle price. (Unibrouenis a major exception: $10 a 4 pack for their high gravity beers is a great deal.) Third, the staff weren't very pleasant. The guy who is often in the front with white-ish hair was very good as always, but there were two girls in the back who weren't really helpful at all, and had some big city attitude (snark and disinterest). My interactions weren't at all fun.

Anyway, left me feeling let down and kind of bummed out. Anyone else notice similar changes?

I've found a lot of customer service people in halifax are like that, I don't necessarily think it's a big city attitude as I've met many local haligonians that think their gods gift to fill in the blank. But the service at premier has slipped horribly, and so has their selection. I hadn't noticed the prices:(

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by Maritimer » Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:13 pm

I was at bishop's landing last week and surprised that their selection had increased (Dieu du Ciel, flying monkey, Brooklyn and others - another shelf area added outside of the fridge). Apparently they are planning on increasing their beer selection even more over time. The staff didn't know much about the beer but they mentioned their "Beer guy" had previously worked at premier.
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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by chicanuck » Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:33 pm

Maritimer wrote:I was at bishop's landing last week and surprised that their selection had increased (Dieu du Ciel, flying monkey, Brooklyn and others - another shelf area added outside of the fridge). Apparently they are planning on increasing their beer selection even more over time. The staff didn't know much about the beer but they mentioned their "Beer guy" had previously worked at premier.
My last few visits to Bishop's Cellar were positive experiences with their Brew Dog and Brooklyn selections, I am looking forward to trying the FM Shoulders of Giants. I would agree the guys there seem to be more wine focused but really.....when I am looking for different beers to try I don't need someone looking over my shoulder telling me what I should buy.

Regarding Premier, I would agree it seems they have less beer than before but I still think their selection is good (but not great) if you compare the options at the NSLC or booze stores in NB, PEI and NL. Last time I visited (a few weeks ago), they had Belgian beers you can't get anywhere else around here and they had some new beers (to me) from Anderson Valley, Moylan's and Buxton. As noted, I try not to talk to customer service people so I can't comment on that, but their selection sure beats going to the NSLC and walking by the 48 different pallets of lager macro shit to buy beer you are only mildly interested in trying.

My 2 cents anyway. ;)

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by adams81 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:01 pm

+1 for Bishop's. I dropped by yesterday and was pleased by the selection. They still offer less than Premiere but it seems that they are interested in expanding their beers.

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by canuck » Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:02 am

I'm planning to hit up Premier tomorrow when I'm in Halifax. Has anyone been there recently, and if so, what is the selection like? I recall reading from a few other members that the selection isn't near as good now. Would I be better off visiting Bishops instead? Also, do either one of those places carry BAB?

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by CorneliusAlphonse » Fri Oct 17, 2014 11:49 am

You could probably check our both - bishops has a smaller selection but they seem to get more stuff I'm interested in. Premier has mostly the samr stuff and seems much more epexnsive than it used to. And I've seen BAB RIS at bishops too
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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by canuck » Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:41 pm

CorneliusAlphonse wrote:You could probably check our both - bishops has a smaller selection but they seem to get more stuff I'm interested in. Premier has mostly the samr stuff and seems much more epexnsive than it used to. And I've seen BAB RIS at bishops too
Cool, thanks for the heads up Liam! :cheers:

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by Buccaneer » Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:10 pm

Too late now, of course, but I was there recently and it looked like the Premier of old - probably a couple dozen new beer that I hadn't seen before.

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by berley » Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:17 pm

Buccaneer wrote:Too late now, of course, but I was there recently and it looked like the Premier of old - probably a couple dozen new beer that I hadn't seen before.
Good to hear, but their online database is pretty horrible. Chalmers offered to pick up some beer for me, so I checked out their website to get some ideas... no good. I clicked on the Belgian Ale section and only one beer came up!

Tweeted them to ask about a specific beer yesterday; no response yet.
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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by Jimmy » Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:27 pm

berley wrote:
Buccaneer wrote:Too late now, of course, but I was there recently and it looked like the Premier of old - probably a couple dozen new beer that I hadn't seen before.
Good to hear, but their online database is pretty horrible. Chalmers offered to pick up some beer for me, so I checked out their website to get some ideas... no good. I clicked on the Belgian Ale section and only one beer came up!

Tweeted them to ask about a specific beer yesterday; no response yet.
You can try PM'ing this guy - he's the manager for Premier.

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by berley » Thu Oct 23, 2014 4:34 pm

Jimmy wrote:
berley wrote:
Buccaneer wrote:Too late now, of course, but I was there recently and it looked like the Premier of old - probably a couple dozen new beer that I hadn't seen before.
Good to hear, but their online database is pretty horrible. Chalmers offered to pick up some beer for me, so I checked out their website to get some ideas... no good. I clicked on the Belgian Ale section and only one beer came up!

Tweeted them to ask about a specific beer yesterday; no response yet.
You can try PM'ing this guy - he's the manager for Premier.

http://brewnosers.org/forums/memberlist ... ile&u=1236" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Cool, thanks Jimmy.

Hopefully their online database gets updated eventually. Much better for out-of-towners who can't make up their mind like me!
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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by benwedge » Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:51 pm

The Herald's weekend editor is reporting that Premier is rebranding and moving to the Windsor St Sobey's. It will become the RockHead Wine and Beer Market.
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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by benwedge » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:03 pm

Oh and they're offering a rotating growler bar. It sounds like an opportunity to get out-of-town micros right next to Nash's new spot. I really chose the wrong time to move out of that neighbourhood.
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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by mikeorr » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:07 pm

Expected opening Jan 2015. Hmm, I wonder if there's a convenient bus route from my office...

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by BobbyOK » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:36 pm

Sobey's now houses two of the four private stores in the city. If I could think of another Sobey's that didn't already have an NSLC next door I'd expect Cristall would be next. This may be worse than just the fact that Micco controls all 3. Sad, sad, sad.

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by mr x » Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:41 pm

It could be a good move for this end of the city - nothing up here. We'll see what they stock...
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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by toddthebeerdude » Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:02 pm

I am really happy, when Harvest left there was no private stores in the area not at least I have a better option. The growler fills may be good if they bring in some harder to get beers

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by CorneliusAlphonse » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:36 pm

Premier has moved up the hill. (KMcK style joke)
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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by chalmers » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:18 pm

BobbyOK wrote:Sobey's now houses two of the four private stores in the city. If I could think of another Sobey's that didn't already have an NSLC next door I'd expect Cristall would be next. This may be worse than just the fact that Micco controls all 3. Sad, sad, sad.
I'm sure I'm missing it, but don't understand the Sobeys problem. Just that they've aligned with that crew (and that's bad), or is it something else? Would a Superstore be any different?

Bishop's will then be the only downtown private beer store, big opportunity for them to keep the urban market.

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by jeffsmith » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:28 pm

chalmers wrote:
BobbyOK wrote:Sobey's now houses two of the four private stores in the city. If I could think of another Sobey's that didn't already have an NSLC next door I'd expect Cristall would be next. This may be worse than just the fact that Micco controls all 3. Sad, sad, sad.
I'm sure I'm missing it, but don't understand the Sobeys problem. Just that they've aligned with that crew (and that's bad), or is it something else? Would a Superstore be any different?

Bishop's will then be the only downtown private beer store, big opportunity for them to keep the urban market.
My guess will be that Sobeys may have a say in the product that's stocked on the shelves if it's under their roofs.

This is a huge opportunity for Bishop's. I really hope they see that and jump on it.

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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by RubberToe » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:36 pm

Harvest Wines, one of the stores owned by these guys, is in the Sobeys on Baker Dr. in Dartmouth. I first went in during the first week or two they moved there. At the time their beer selection was lame.

It's way better now. Not as awesome as Premiere was, but much better. Harvest Wine's traffic is better than it was than at their old location no doubt. It's in its own separate walled off store within the grocery store. I doubt Sobey's has any say in what they carry. Anyway they seem to be doing a good job there, they have a display at the entrance and on Fridays have a cart with several wines and beer to taste. They had a porter out a few weeks ago.

I expect this new place will be much the same.
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Re: Premier Gone Down Hill?

Post by BobbyOK » Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:47 am

RubberToe wrote: I expect this new place will be much the same.
This is exactly the issue. There were 4 alternatives to the NSLC. Now there are effectively two.

As I said to Jonathan directly, this is not about whether this individual store will or won't be a good one. This is about choice. The moment Mickey MacDonald feels this project isn't meeting with his desire to build his "legacy" in this city, he will change it. Harvest has moved twice now since he bought it. And be honest, how many of us shop at Premier less now than we did before?

Sobey's may have no direct control over selection, but remember how quickly Superstore dumped Premier when they got the chance to put in an NSLC? And if these stores do well, what's to stop Sobey's from doing the same thing as Micco and buying them all? Would anyone be okay with this if it was different members of the Sobey family who held these licenses?

For the time being, all will be fine I'm sure. But this will not end well.

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