After increasing its offerings during Covid, the Mountain View Bottle Shop is coming back strong (and sour).
by Heather Zimmerman
Mountain View’s downtown bottle shop, Jane’s Beer Store, has helped keep locals supplied with foam for the duration of the pandemic shutdown and beyond. The store, located at 720 Villa St., opened in 2012 and offers a range of craft beers, from local offerings to beers from the United States and abroad.
Jane’s Beer Store, located in downtown Mountain View, offers craft beers, ciders and mead. (Courtesy of Jane’s Beer Store)
“It’s a little mix of everything, so we have a pretty big selection of Belgian beers. German beers. We also have other beers from around the world, but a lot of the beers are also local, so a lot of Bay Area, a lot of California – Sacramento, San Diego,” said Stuart Keith, manager of Jane’s Beer Store. The store also offers other craft alcoholic beverages, such as ciders, mead and some hard seltzers.
During the early months of the pandemic, the store was, like so many businesses, limited to offering curbside pickup. As the state has reopened and public health rules have eased, customers are returning to shop in person, but some are still calling to pick up orders, Keith said.
Jane’s relied on its strong presence on Instagram and Facebook to update its followers on the latest arrivals, which is especially helpful during the shutdown when customers couldn’t visit the store.
Social media post highlighting new stock – Jane’s Beer Store relies on Instagram and Facebook to publicize its latest deals, which has been particularly helpful in keeping customers informed during the closure. (Courtesy of Jane’s Beer Store)
“We’ve tried to do our best to keep social media up to date. We usually take a picture and write a little description of each beer or cider and then put it on social media and that usually gets a good number of people. .who are excited about the new products that are coming,” Keith said.
The continuing trend among breweries towards unique, colorful labels has helped ensure a range of photos featuring bright, eye-catching cans and bottles that will be popping up on social media feeds. Some of these beautifully packaged beers would have actually been much harder to come by before the pandemic, as a number of breweries that typically sold to restaurants and bars started packaging more of their beers for retail sale.
During the pandemic, breweries have shifted their focus from kegs to other packaging like cans and bottles. (Courtesy of Jane’s Beer Store)
“As many bars and restaurants had to close (during the shutdown), many breweries were tapping fewer beers, which meant they were focusing more on packaging. There were even brews that we couldn’t get. before the pandemic that since they increased their packaging, we were able to start getting their cans and bottles more frequently,” Keith said.
Last year didn’t seem to change customer tastes for the styles of beer they craved. The most popular pre-pandemic beer styles continued to see steady demand, Keith said, with the reigning champions still being IPAs and sours, as well as stouts and barrel-aged beers.
“Certainly, IPAs are number one, and within IPAs there are almost two styles: West Coast IPAs, which are a bit more bitter and citrusy, where the foggy New England style is more tropical and quite sweet and fruity. We sell tons of them every week,” Keith said. He said many customers are drawn to sour beers in warm weather and similar robust stouts and quaffs in the winter months. .
Looking ahead, Jane’s plans to add a fourth fridge to create additional cold storage space, which Keith says is becoming increasingly important as new breweries require their beers to be kept cold to promote shelf life. preservation and stability.
With Jane’s location a block from the Mountain View Caltrain station, Keith said that before the pandemic, it was quite common for customers to drop by after work for a beer on the way to the train, to enjoy it on the way home or on the way to a Giants game in San Francisco, because it’s legal to drink on the train. This group of customers hasn’t really come back yet, as Caltrain’s ridership is slowly recovering. But since reopening last month, customers have returned regularly, especially at weekends, and with the store’s downtown location, traffic is constant, whether it’s long-time customers or occasional visitors who are downtown to meet friends or run errands.
“There are always new people coming and going. I feel like almost every week I have a new client coming in saying, ‘Oh, we just moved into the block and we’re going to start to come here,'” Keith said.
Jane’s Beer Store is open Monday through Wednesday. 1 p.m.–7 p.m., Thu.–Sat. 12pm-9pm and Sun. 12pm-6pm For more information, visit janesbeerstore.com.
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