“Coming to work for me isn’t coming to work,” he said. “As long as you can keep your work fun, it’s not like coming to work. And keeping up with the changes in our industry is fun. You get to reinvent yourself.”
- Bill Sullivan
Excerpts from column written by Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune October 25, 2013
It’s not your father’s liquor store.
But in Bill Sullivan’s case, it actually was — until he bought the Sierra Madre shop from his dad back in 1984. These days, The Bottle Shop operates as a unique kind of business that’s much more than a traditional liquor store.
“We have adapted to the changing times,” said Sullivan, 56, of Sierra Madre, who now runs the business along with his wife Patty and twin sons Jay and Jeff. “We have a tasting bar inside the store for beer and wine and we also have special events where we bring wine representatives in and they talk about how to pair certain foods with wines.”
Located at 58 W. Sierra Madre Blvd, The Bottle Shop has a 17-door, walk-in box that’s stocked with more than 100 imported beers. “We have a lot of specialty beers,” Sullivan said. “It seems like a lot of the big beer conglomerates are losing market share, but the smaller guys with the IPAs are gaining market share. That seems to be the trend these days.”
In 1998, the shop was gutted by fire and declared a total loss. But the store reopened a little more than a month later, thanks to the efforts of family members and others in the community who pitched in to help. In 2011, the store expanded and into an unoccupied space to the west and added a climate-controlled wine room and wine tasting bar.
“We have beer tasting on Wednesday nights and wine tasting Thursday through Friday” Sullivan said. So, what does he think about the business celebrating 50 years of operation? “Coming to work for me isn’t coming to work,” he said. “As long as you can keep your work fun, it’s not like coming to work. And keeping up with the changes in our industry is fun. You get to reinvent yourself.”