In the Beginning
We bought the Brew Zoo back in 1998 thinking it would be a fun small business to run. Rick had a background in corporate finance and needed a simpler profession. David was a funeral director and needed a change to a livelier career.
Since buying Brew Zoo we have always been stunned by one thing: The beer buying community in the Central Pennsylvania has been largely underserved and, unfortunately, had slipped into complacency and lowered expectations.
- Product selection was poor (and in our minds is still not what it should be).
- Beer stores in PA are generally not well merchandised or well stocked. In fact most are dirty, dark and depressing and un-shoppable.
- Customer service is poor, almost non-existent.
- Common services such as accepting credit cards, checks, gift cards, etc. found in most other businesses today were not so common in beer stores.
- Efforts in marketing and/or advertising don’t exist.
These deficiencies have given us an incredible opportunity to create a beer store that looks acts and feels more like current day retailers in other industries.
A Growing Selection
At Brew Zoo we’ve expanded our beer selection to over 500 brands; some rather common brands all the way to some pretty hard-to-find stuff. And how do we decide what to carry? We listen, listen and listen more. For example, we don’t stock Lindemann’s Framboise because we liked it. We have it in our store because one customer wanted it. From that one customer and that one product we’ve created quite a nice demand for Lindemann’s.
Our store is filled with similar success stories. We continue to add brands and styles everyday. What? We don’t have what you want? Just ask. If it’s available for us to sell (that’s always the hard part, by the way) we’re happy to get it in for you. And if it’s something you’re going to want on a regular basis, chances are it will become a stock item that we’ll carry on a regular basis. That’s how we’ve grown our selection of craft and import brews, one item at a time, and one customer at a time.
With over 500 brands, are we satisfied with our expanded selection? Nope! Our work with our suppliers is challenging but we’re making strides to get them on board and provide us with a wider selection of beers. Turns out, they’re not such a bunch of bad Joes after all.
Our store facility is always changing. We emphasize cleanliness and shop ability. Hopefully you’ll find our store a pleasant place to visit. And don’t be afraid to spend some time here. We like to have you browse for as long as you’d like. We’re proud of our place. And we’re proud of our sales associates. They are friendly, helpful and very approachable. We’ve not achieved beer-geek status yet but hopefully we’ll be able to answer your questions. If not, we’re sure going to try our best to get your answer.
Pricing is always a concern of our customers and to us. Sometimes we run into distribution issues that drive up prices. If we can intervene to lower the price to you, we’re going to give it a good try. For our macro-brew consumers, please know that if a brewery is giving us promotional pricing or quantity discounts, we’ll be passing them onto you, guaranteed!
We’re very aware that you can buy your beer almost anywhere. We hope to have improved our customers’ beer buying experience over the years. You chose us as your beer provider and we hope we return the favor by doing a good job in your eyes. If not, please speak up. It makes us better!
To those customers that make a very long drive to visit us, we’re very flattered and we thank you.
At the Brew Zoo we do have a passion outside of beer and it’s our love for animals. We may ask for your assistance from time to time to help our local humane societies, or animal rights groups. We love to give a voice to those creatures that don’t have one of their own. And when you’re in the store you may encounter a pet or two. Our customers love to show off their “buddies” here and we love to see them all.
Got room in your heart and your home for a pet? We’ve always got friends and associates looking to place rescued pals in good loving homes. Just let us know that you’re ready, willing and able.
This beer journey has been a lot of fun. You challenge us and make us better each day. Thanks to all of you for this opportunity!
David and Rick