Posts tagged saskatchewan liquor
Happy Hour's First Birthday

I can’t really wrap my head around the fact that it’s almost been one year since we opened the doors here at Happy Hour.

It honestly feels like yesterday that Allen, Denise, Lyndsey and I (Joel) gathered for the first time in late April last year and started stocking the shelves in the store. It was an exhausting exercise that took a few days to get done. The wine, my goodness, I’ll never forget how long it took to stock the store with the best selection of different wines from around the world. In the end, it’s certainly been more than worth it. 

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 was the day the doors officially opened. Were we ready? In all honesty, probably not. That being said, what we learned that day and over the next few days couldn’t have been replicated in training, it was time to jump in feet first and kind of figure this thing out as we go. 

Being the small business that we are meant that we had no system to plug into.  We didn’t have research teams that knew exactly what we should stock right away, many things we stocked when we opened have left and will never return. With products, it's still a bit of an experimentation game, see what works and what doesn't so that we can provide something that everyone loves. 

Our family has expanded and continues to grow from humble beginnings continues into something we could never have imagined a year ago. Some of us have stepped up into new roles and others have taken the lead in providing a memorable customer service experience. We even have a sister store, A&D Fresh Market, that has been an overwhelming success in a short period of time. 

As much as things have changed over our first year, there are certain values we won’t waver on. First and foremost, we want to make sure that you have the best experience possible every time you step through our doors, whether you’re looking for a case of beer or need advice on what to buy for a special occasion.

No customer is more important than another. We will always be working hard to bring in the newest and best products that you can't find anywhere else. Lastly, we will never forget where we started from. We will continue to support Pilot Butte and area in any way that we can. We want to be a part of the community, not just a business in town. 

Cheers to one year and cheers to what’s next! 

Beyond The Bathtub: Bandits Doing Moonshine Right

One of the newest players on the moonshine scene in Saskatchewan is Bandits Distillery out of Weyburn. They've gone all-in on one of North America’s most infamous liquors. With everything from traditional moonshine to flavoured moonshine like coffee, chocolate, peach and apple pie. 

The strong and (usually) clear alcohol has quite the story, a story that often leaves people a little afraid to try it. It’s believed the term moonshine comes from the term “moonrakers” which was used to describe early English smugglers into America. The name lived on because moonshine was often made at night to avoid attention as it remained illegal in much of America until 2010. 

In it’s most basic form, moonshine is simply unaged whisky. Like whisky, moonshine can be made with a variety of different ingredients. The most popular ways include corn, wheat, and sugar. The ingredients a distillery chooses to use will ultimately come down to what they plan on doing with their moonshine.

In Bandits case, they use Saskatchewan wheat that comes from their own farm. (They also have a meat business, so they’re a complete operation down there.) Just how well do they know the base of their moonshine? The family has been farming in Saskatchewan for over 100 years. They even traveled and learned about distilling methods from America's deep south to Russia. 

The biggest stereotype of moonshine is that’s it’s just really strong booze that has no flavor, a horrible tasting flavor or it's just plain dangerous to drink it. That can be true, especially if you’re trying something someone has made themselves (but that is technically illegal in Saskatchewan, so you didn’t hear that from us).

No, you won’t go blind. In fact, you might actually enjoy the relatively smooth flavour of Bandit's traditional moonshine. It’s also highly flexibility liquor that can be used in a wide range of drinks to suit your needs. If the traditional stuff still has you a little worried, Bandit's also makes flavoured moonshines will win you over. 

Bandits wanted to make sure they got every detail right before hitting the market. It took them three years but it’s well worth the wait. Everything from the bottles, to the labels and of course, the booze on the inside had to be done right. 

If moonshine still isn’t your thing, Bandits has produced a top-notch gin and vodka as well. Word is there’s a whisky on the way as well, which only makes sense as they have to do is age what they already got. 

Bandits Distilling is just another example of our commitment to carrying the best this province has to offer. If there’s a new brewery or distillery that we should know about, drop us a comment below!


Happy Resolutions: New Year, Better Us

Every year as the calendar turns to January, people all over the world make New Year’s resolutions. Here at Happy Hour, we’re no different.

In 2018, we want to make your experience at our store even better. That’s not to say that we think we’ve done a poor job since opening our doors in May. Your feedback, both online and in person has been tremendous. We truly thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts for all the kind words. That being said, we know we can still do better and that will only mean bigger and better things for you going forward.

I wanted to write this not only to let you know what we have planned for the next 365 days but so we can also be held accountable and make sure that we follow through on our promises to you this year.

So, without further adieu, here’s what you can look forward to in 2018.

1. Keeping Things Local

If there’s one thing we love at Happy Hour more than anything else, it’s fantastic locally produced products. Since we’ve opened, we’ve seen our selection of homegrown booze grow and this year, we want to put an even bigger emphasis on those that are doing things right here in our own backyard.

Changes are planned for our craft beer section that will see a massive increase in local selections and our growler station will always remain 100 percent Saskatchewan produced.

While we love our craft beer, we love anything produced in Saskatchewan. We want to make sure that as many of the provinces distilleries and wineries are represented at Happy Hour as well. If there’s any we should know about, send us a message on Facebook or Instagram to let us know.

As a locally owned and operated store, we want to support local. We think you want to as well.

2. Stocking Up On Speciality Items (That You Can't Get Anywhere Else)

Outside of our provincial borders, we want to continue to source more stuff that you can’t find anywhere else in the greater-Regina area.

That doesn’t mean that we’re going to start cutting some of your favourites to make room. The staples will always be here, but our goal is to be the go-to specialty store. So, we’re scouring the country and the globe for beer, wine, whisky, rum, gin, vodka, and more. We know competition in this business is growing and we’re willing to put in the work to make sure our selection is top notch.

3. Picking Up The Slack On Online Requests

Along those lines, we know we have to do a better job communicating with you, our valued customer.

One of the big reasons we’ve been able to grow our selection in short order has been thanks to wonderful suggestions and requests from you. We’ve done a decent job handling those requests in person, but we can admit we dropped the ball online. If you’ve ever been on our website, you’d know there’s a section to submit inquiries about special order products. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the systems in place at the time to respond to those requests in a timely manner. That won’t be the case going forward. Whether we can get something in or not, you will hear from us. We know there’s nothing worse than not getting an answer either way.

In store, or online, keep those requests coming and we promise you’ll hear from us.

4. Giving You The Best Customer Service

At Happy Hour, we pride ourselves on providing excellent customer service. Whether it’s finding that perfect bottle of wine for a gift, a funky new craft beer to enjoy or the right ingredients for that new cocktail. We want to help you.

This will never stop being our goal now and in the future.

Happy New Year! See you in the store.