Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For Clover Hill, six sites work for now

Call Clover Hill Vineyards & Winery the Jupiter of the Pennsylvania wineries, its five satellites and winery the maximum that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board allows. In the midst of an all-encompassing conversation with marketing manager Kari Scrip last night, she was asked about whether that ceiling would ever be raised. The accurate answer is whether anyone would take advantage if that maximum was raised.

“That has gone back and forth,” she said. “Actually, with legislation regarding shipping in and out of Pennsylvania, they have been tacking on . . . all sorts of stipulations. So they’re gonna raise the number of retail stores in exchange for not letting us ship out of state. So there’s been a lot of that going on. But I don’t really foresee it changing too much and I don’t really know that any wineries are interested in too many more than that. I mean it’s always nice to have the flexibility to do what you want. But at this point I don’t see anyone pushing to say I want to have 10 stores.”

Scrip said that while the winery in Breinigsville remains the biggest in terms of space and busiest year-round of the six locations, the shops at the Lehigh Valley Mall and The Plaza at King of Prussia Mall lure in loads of shoppers during the holidays. And Scrip noted she and her family, with their roots in agriculture, have a personal interest in the health of the farm market. Clover Hill has locations at the Boscov’s Fairgrounds Farmer’s Market in Reading, Pa., and the Allentown (Pa.) Fairgrounds Farmers Market.

“Those stay very even keel year-round,” she said. “We’ve definitely noticed an increase in the farmer’s markets, the whole buying local, we see a lot more people shopping the farmers markets and that it’s really grown quite a bit. So we’re really been pleased with our two farmer’s market stores.”

So while the question was directed toward expansion, the answer pointed more toward possible reductions in the number of outlets. “The stores have been good for us and they are still doing very well,” she said. “We have just grown so much through the state store system. We’re pretty much distributed statewide, not all of our wines are, but we’ve grown so much through there. Initially the stores got us recognized and people could come in and taste. But now people know us, so we’re hoping over the next couple of years that maybe we’ll pare down the number of stores and do more distribution.”

No comments: