Sipstirs – an exclusive crafted wines and spirits store located in Darien, CT. An impressive variety of extraordinary products gives a change to taste the world. Today, I am extremely excited talking with David M. Wagner, the founder of Sipstirs.
After spending about 15 years working as a distributor and supplier representative, I realized that the alcohol market was overwhelming for even the most experienced connoisseurs, let alone those that want to casually enjoy a tasty libation. I also began to realize that due to the nature of the alcohol industry, we needed to make sure that we are responsible and elevate our communities. With both of these in mind I knew I wanted to focus on two key tenets: 1) Bring my experience to retail to help consumers make their own unique decisions confidently and 2) Use a fun, social atmosphere to give back to the community, through programs such as “Sip for a cause”.
One of the biggest challenges is that it’s hard to make projections about what people will want in the future. There are so many new things to try, so people have branched away from the brand loyalty that used to exist in the market. Having realized this, I remain flexible and aware of trends, as it’s vital to success in this industry.
I take great pride in curating all wines for the Sipstirs Wine Club in house. This is quite unique because unlike other traditional wine club services that source and basically, “white label” bottles, we only include wine that has been tasted and personally selected. We also offer a variety of tiers, depending on how many wines are preferred each month. Our highest tier includes up to 8 total wines per month and the entry club is (3) three bottles of wine for $60. Other options are available, so you should find what works for your lifestyle.
Additionally, being part of the wine club gives you 15% off all monthly selections. This wine club service makes a great gift for friends and family for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
Differentiating for us has been fairly easy. As an industry veteran with 15+ years experience, I have learned that worrying what other people are doing is just noise. I strive to just do what we do and do it well. I pick quality products for a price I would purchase the bottle for. Additionally, partnerships and building strong solid relationships with our distributor and supplier partners gives us an edge. We are a store open to everyone; we know everybody has different tastes and price points and we cater to that.
However, something we do quite different is the program I started called “Sip For A Cause”. We partner with local charities to bring the community together for… a great cause. Our most recent event to kick off the summer was raising beach towels for the Person-to-Person campership program that allows children a necessary item at summer camp where they have the most fun. Another event we do annually is a food drive for “Move For Hunger”, whereby costumers that donate nonperishable items have the opportunity to taste through a line-up of wines.
Finally, we know that consumers want to know a bit more about where their products are coming from and how they are made. The millennial consumer, for example, tends to be quite interested in the quality of products they use. We offer a line of natural and organic wines that can lend a hand to that market.
Yes, the plan is to grow steadily and expand to another location. We love serving our market and want them to feel comfortable not being bogged down at bigger box stores. I also would like to open a wine bar in the near future to bring an even more interactive experience to my customers.
Our biggest milestone for 2019 was our one-year anniversary event in May. The first year is always the toughest for a new business. We had a large tasting party, an oyster shucker, and appetizers. It was amazing to see our customers come out to celebrate and share in the continued success of the shop. It’s motivation to continue to do our best to bring quality offerings to the market while continuing to pass on the generations of family operated wine, spirit and beer making.
I would tell myself: “Nothing is easy and stay away from the naysayers.” When you are taking a risk and doing things in a forward direction, everybody seems to have an opinion. In the end, I had to break away from the noise and stick to my experience. I’ve seen a lot that works (and doesn’t) and have used that to guide me in what I am looking to accomplish in this space. So, I’d tell myself to hear the input, but in the end, trust myself.