Longtime fans of Hawthorne Bottle Shoppe may find the news bittersweet, but the secret is out about one of the best places around for great craft beer and unique global wines. Hawthorne Bottle Shoppe has been named one of the best beer shops in America by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, one of only four honorees from the South Region.
To compile their list, Wine Enthusiast spoke with dozens of brewers, writers, social media enthusiasts, chefs, and drinkers about what goes into creating a good bottle shop. Rather than search for spots with the biggest selection, editors were interested in those who offer curated options of seasonal and small-batch offerings, often highlighting brewers that self-distribute.
The magazine added that “staff is also critically important for a bottle shop. The best ones have knowledgeable folks who are passionate about beer and aren’t shy about promoting popular offerings, but also are advocates for unknown gems.” At Hawthorne, we can say from experience that the staff is beyond helpful in making sure everyone finds the perfect can, bottle or pint.
From Wine Enthusiast: “This woman-owned shop has created an anchor in the community for beer lovers,” says Wayne Millard, founder of the Beer Label Society. “Ask anyone in the beer scene in Florida and they will know them and their business. Their marketing, selection and events make them stand out in a crowded field.”
Tampa Bay is a growing destination for beer and wine
Of course, this isn’t the first time St. Pete has been in the spotlight for Wine Enthusiast’s rankings. Earlier this year, local favorite Cellar Master’s earned top billing in the South Region for their list of America’s best wine shops.
As for the new beer rankings, HBS wasn’t alone. Despite there being only four finalists for the South Region, there was a second Tampa Bay location to make the list alongside Hawthorne. Sarasota’s 99 Bottles earned honors, as well, credited with doing a great deal in a small space.
“They’ve got a tap list curated by a great team that balances hype beers with classic style makers and rare releases from the hottest breweries that come to (and come from) Florida,” says Mark DeNote, author of The Great Florida Craft Beer Guide. “They have absolutely maximized their tiny space with an on-premises establishment that doubles as a growler bar, along with an eclectic bottle selection that doubles as wall art. Finish it all off with a locker club that rivals any wine club and you’ve got 99 Bottles.”
Hawthorne Bottle Shoppe is located at 2927 Central Avenue in the Grand Central District.