Best Customer Service at a Liquor Store | Best of Chicago 2010 | Food & Drink | Chicago Reader

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Best Customer Service at a Liquor Store 

Drinks Over Dearborn

650 N. Dearborn, second floor

In Fine Spirits gets an honorable mention for providing a stack of empty cardboard caddies so customers can put together mixed six-packs, and for knocking 10 percent off the per-bottle price once they do. But Drinks Over Dearborn takes first prize—for its tasting fridge, which holds a selection of opened but carefully resealed wines, meads, liqueurs, and spirits for sampling, and for the way its staff hooked me up with three bottles of the 2009 Founders Nemesis.

People who spend more on craft beer than on clothes—people like me—get unreasonably excited about limited releases from top-tier breweries like Founders, and the Nemesis series is pretty much engineered to provoke irrational behavior. Unlike annual special releases like Three Floyds’ Dark Lord, each iteration of Nemesis is unique, never to be repeated. (The 2009 version was a maple-bourbon-barreled wheat wine—and if that means anything to you, welcome to the club!) A store that stocks such a release gets swarmed with beer nerds so quickly that some people try to beat the rush by calling ahead and having bottles laid aside. When I visited Drinks Over Dearborn last winter, having noticed Nemesis listed on its Web site, the clerk told me they’d sold out in a flash. But he took my phone number and e-mail address and said he’d get in touch if any more showed up.

I figured that was that. It’d been nice of the clerk to take my info, but I assumed it was just a formality, a way to soften my obvious disappointment. Then, almost three weeks later, after I’d forgotten about the whole thing, I got the call. There actually had been some Nemesis in the shop all along, but it’d all been reserved by phone. A customer who’d called dibs on some bottles had failed to come in and buy them. And when that happened, the shop didn’t just put them back out on the shelves, where they would’ve been snapped up in minutes. Instead, somebody took the trouble to remember me, and then to flip through all the notes by the register to find my number. Thanks for enabling my beer problem, Drinks Over Dearborn!

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