Liqour selections

Take a tour of St. Paul’s Dabbler Depot, a destination liquor store

  • Owner Matt Kenevan shows how Dabbler Depot’s wine cooler works – you can move the display wall around to find more wine behind it. (Jess Fleming/Pioneer Press)

  • The Dabbler Depot on St. Paul's West Seventh Street.  (Yes, there are donuts in the cafe attached to the store.) (Jess Fleming/Pioneer Press)

    The Dabbler Depot on St. Paul’s West Seventh Street. (Yes, there are donuts in the cafe attached to the store.) (Jess Fleming/Pioneer Press)

  • A Lego wall separates workers from the public in the...

    A Lego wall separates workers from the public in St. Paul’s new Dabbler Depot cafe on West Seventh Street. (Jess Fleming/Pioneer Press)

  • The Price-is-Right style prize wheel and faucet selection at Dabbler Depot...

    The price wheel and selection of Price-is-Right style taps at the Dabbler Depot liquor store on St. Paul’s West Seventh Street. (Jess Fleming/Pioneer Press)

  • The plants above the beer cooler at Dabbler Depot...

    The plants above the Dabbler Depot beer cooler on West Seventh Street in St. Paul are watered by condensation from the coolers. (Jess Fleming/Pioneer Press)

  • This Hamm's beer bear was sculpted at this year's Winter...

    This Hamm beer bear was sculpted during this year’s Winter Beer Dabbler. He now has a permanent home at the Dabbler Depot liquor store on West Seventh Street in St. Paul. (Jess Fleming/Pioneer Press)

  • Premium Boxed Sake and Wines at Dabbler Depot on St...

    Premium boxed sake and wines at Dabbler Depot on St. Paul’s West Seventh Street. (Jess Fleming/Pioneer Press)

You’ve heard of a Destination Brewery, but how about a Destination Liquor Store?

Many of us have a store we’re willing to travel a little farther for, to get that hard-to-find beer, wine, or whiskey, but the Dabbler Depot, the new retail liquor store on St. Paul’s West Seventh Street from behind the Beer Dabbler and The Growler Magazine events, is a whole new animal.

Yes, there’s a great wine selection, spirits you don’t see every day and an endless wall of beer, which is lovingly kept cool from the moment it arrives – meaning the beer you get is cooler than what you’ll find at most retail outlets that stock hot beer. But there’s also a cafe, serving Rusty Dog beans from Madison, Wisconsin, a wall of plants watered by the condensation from those giant beer and wine coolers, a Price-is-Right-style wheel to spin if you are a member (prizes range from coozies to free pizza, car washes and more) and a rotating selection of draft beers so you can sample some staff favorites while you shop.

There is also a glass-encased studio where the team plans to record short videos about each product. You’ll eventually be able to scan a barcode and learn more about each wine, beer, and spirit the store carries. If the maker of said product is in town, he hopes he’ll talk his stuff on camera. They will also record podcasts there. And this room is not used as a studio, it will also serve as a tasting room. Owner Matt Kenevan also hopes to up the ante on what tasting at a liquor store is like. Think high-end stuff, poured in by people who know what they’re talking about.

Eventually, the store hopes to have a permanent food truck on the premises to give neighbors even more reason to stop by.

And it all started during the pandemic when owner Matt Kenevan couldn’t hold his popular Beer Dabbler tasting events, so came up with the idea for ‘Dabbler in a Box’, which was a box of varied beer paired to a video from the creators of each. The boxes were sold at the Surdyk liquor store in northeast Minneapolis.

“I said, ‘You know, what, we give a lot of money to Surdyk’s,'” Kenevan said. “Why not open a liquor store?”

He first thought it could be a virtual liquor store, but regulations surrounding liquor stores made that difficult, so he decided to go all out, creating the liquor store. coolest liquor he could imagine. And Kenevan’s imagination is big.

He hasn’t finished yet either. He hopes that eventually, you’ll attend one of his Beer Dabbler events, try a beer, and be able to add it to a virtual cart on site to pick it up later at the Dabbler Depot.

He wishes the stakes on the Price-is-Right wheel were higher – how about winning a trip to another state to meet the makers of a beer?

They also plan to offer subscription programs for wine, beer, and spirits. You’ll receive an organized box of everything you love, delivered right to your door.

“We really want this to be different from any other store in this industry nationally,” Kenevan said.

From what we can see, it’s already mission accomplished.

Dabbler Depot: 1545 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; dabblerdepot.com