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Drunk history: liquor enters the wet city

Drunk history: liquor enters the wet city

06/03/15 Denton, TX Gayle Cook surveys the vast selection of alcohol inside Imperial Ale and Spirits. The liquor store is the second to open in Denton after voters chose to make the city wet in December 2014. Photo by Edward Balusek

Drunk history: liquor enters the wet city
June 12
01:42 2015

Erica Wieting | Senior Staff Writer

A bell chimes as the door to Imperial Ale and Spirits opens to welcome a new customer. Store manager Niles Patel greets the newcomer as he finishes up with a buyer, passing a receipt across the counter and thanking him for his business.

Imperial Ale and Spirits opened April 21 at 717 S. Interstate 35E on the corner of Teasley Lane and I-35E. The store is located next to Brookshire’s, behind Applebee’s.

Patel, who has lived in Denton for 20 years, said he considered opening a liquor store for a long time before Denton finally became wet earlier this year.

Patel said he grew up learning how to correctly manage a business from family role models.

“My family had [a liquor store] in the north states, Chicago area,” he said. “So I’d seen how to manage this stuff.”

Patel said he is optimistic about the future of the store, despite a slow start.

He has seen a noticeable increase in his customer base this month in particular, citing the start of the summer months as a catalyst.

“It’s a very good thing,” he said in reference to the store’s rising numbers of customers. “It keeps me out of trouble.”

Patel expects business to keep increasing as even more people find out that new liquor stores are popping up around Denton.

“No one knows that we’re here yet,” Patel said. “It’s getting there slowly.”

In an overwhelming majority, thousands of Denton residents voted in the November 2014 elections to allow the sale of liquor within city limits. The law took effect on Jan. 1 of this year.

In the following months, residents expecting or hoping to see liquor stores quickly were disappointed after three months had passed and Denton remained dry.

The delay was due in part to complicated liquor licensing laws, Patel said. Regulations set by the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission can make the process of opening a liquor store complex.

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Niles Patel, left, rings up a customer at Imperial Ale and Spirit.

Manager of Total Wine & More in Lewisville David Trone said his store has been serving Denton County since 1997. Aspiring liquor store owners in the state have to go through the TABC if they want to establish a business.

“You have to fill out a pretty extensive application, do a few background checks and be approved through the TABC,” Trone said. “That’s usually about a four-month process.”

Denton’s first liquor store, The Liquor Outpost, applied for its license at the end of December. Imperial Ale and Spirits was quick to follow suit on Jan. 15, and folks at Shax’s Liquor applied for their location on Teasley Lane the same month.

Sophomore nursing student Lauren Schedler said while she will purchase liquor from stores more often now that there is one close to her, she will still frequent the bars just as often.

“It’s more about being social and getting out of the house than about consuming liquor,” Schedler said.

With the establishment of businesses like Imperial Ale and Spirits, liquor stores are quickly becoming an integral part of Denton’s culture. Specifically, the decorations in Imperial Ale and Spirits prove its suitability for the uniquely eclectic ecosystem of Denton.

As it turns out, liquor isn’t the only thing of interest to the store. In keeping with Denton’s avant-garde motif, the shop is lined with unconventional, offbeat decorations.

These include a large, metal, Shiner-branded Texas state cutout and a selection of t-shirts framing an upside-down, neon blue guitar.

Patel and his store have finally arrived in Denton, and he said they’re here to stay.

“I found an opportunity and here I am,” he said.

Featured Image: Gayle Cook surveys the selection of alcohol inside Imperial Ale and Spirits. The store is the second to open in Denton after voters chose to make the city wet in December 2014. Edward Balusek | Editor-in-Cheif

[colored_box color=green]TOP 5 SHOTS IN DENTON

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shots_other_web

shot_man_web

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1. ‘The Hopper’ at Cool Beans

Gin based, mixed with orange, pinapple and grapfruit juice with triple sec

2. Pickle Shot at Riprocks

Patrons shoot whiskey, then pickle juice, then eat a pickle slice

3. Yet-to-be-named Shot at Hickory & Fry

Bourbon based, mixed with apple liquor, bar-made shrub with peach and apple cider vinegar and finally squeezed lemon juice

4. ‘The Manmosa’ at Drunken Donkey

Patrons shoot Maple Jim Beam, then orange juice, then eat a bacon strip

5. Vapor Shot at The Garage

Shots of vaporized alcohol in banana or peach flavors

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