Monday, January 5, 2009

Buying Booze For Your Party "On The Cheap"

Its going to be SuperBowl Party-Time soon...if hosting one, are you ready? Stocking up on enough alcohol for a party can cost a small fortune. Your best bet — visit your local warehouse clubs, which regularly offer discounts of 10% to 30%. But what about those hefty membership fees, you ask? (An annual membership at Costco costs $50, while nonmembers at BJ's will have a 15% fee added to their bill.)

Thanks to some little-known state laws, nonmembers can purchase alcohol without paying a membership fee. These laws date back to the 1930s, when Prohibition was repealed. Massachusetts' law, for example, provides that applicants for a license to sell alcohol must "serve the public need and protect the common good." In simpler terms, alcohol sold must be available for purchase by the greater public — no membership restrictions. (The ol' minimum age requirement still applies.) "We uphold those old laws; therefore, any alcohol sold in our clubs in such states is open to the public," says Teleia Farrell, a spokeswoman for BJ's Wholesale Clubs.

Taking advantage of this deal depends on where you live, and at which discount club you shop. Here's a rundown of the policies at the three major players:

Now, these policies are far from common knowledge. (Trust us — in our search for details, we called everyone from the Distilled Spirits Council to the American Bar Association and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. No one had heard of them.) Avoiding the fee may take some fancy footwork:

Find a manager. Don't expect to find an employee who has heard of this policy. So ask to speak with the manager as soon as you enter the store.

Bring this article with you. It can't hurt, and may convince a skeptical employee that you're in the right.

Stick to alcohol. This membership fee loophole only applies to alcohol. So don't push your luck by loading your cart up with other items. If you do, expect to pony up that nonmember fee. (source:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The 12 Spirits For The Holidays

Its cold, dark and windy outside with sleet and snow whipping up a frenzy. Finally arrived home? Want to feel the glow of the holiday season? Want to feel cozy and warm without the fireplace? Try a good Irish Whiskey, Single Malt or Bourbon. Here are twelve spirits to check out for the holidays.

1) Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, $45
Franklin County, Ky.
Smooth...has more oak and less heat than the Woodford

2) Evan Williams Bourbon Single Barrel, $30
Bardstown, Nelson County, Ky.
caramel and oak flavoring, heavy on the Oak. Check out this bourbon If Oaky California Chardonnay is your thing.

3) Knob Creek Bourbon, $25
Region: Clermont, Bullitt County, Ky.
Are you a Single Malt Scotch drinker wanting to try a Bourbon? The smokey taste may appeal to you.

4) Woodford Reserve Bourbon, $30
Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Ky.
Light on the oak, but a sweet, smooth and balanced bourbon it is.

5) John Power Irish Whiskey, $25
Region: Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland
Its a classic Irish whiskey with a low price tag.

6) Connemara Irish Single Malt, $80
Region: Cooley, County Louth, Ireland
This one brings some heat to the palette. Its an Irish for the Scotch drinker to scope out.

7) Knappogue 1995 Irish Single Malt, $50
Region: Quin, County Clare, Ireland
An Irish whiskey that is more mellow you say? Try this one.

8) Redbreast Irish Whiskey 12 Year, $65
Region: Midleton, County Cork, Ireland
Less complex flavor than Knappogue.

9) Laphroaig Malt 15 Year, $60
Region: Islay (Scotland’s western and northern coasts, including Islay, Orkneys Mull, Skye; heavy and smokey)
Smokey and peaty. Complex taste that sticks around for awhile.

10) Glencadam 15 Year, $65
Region: Highland (higher elevation areas of northern and central Scotland; more complex, regal)
Major peatiness...Major.

11) Glenkinchie Distillers Edition, $70
Region: Lowland (low areas in southern Scotland; light and dry)
Touch of caramel and very light. This one is good for American whiskey drinkers that would like to explore a Single Malt.

12) Tomintoul 16 Year Speyside, $70
Region: Speyside
Touch of saltiness but a balanced flavor otherwise.