New "Winnie" to open in late September

Shara JJ Cooper
By Shara JJ Cooper
July 30th, 2013

For those watching, the new Winnipeg Liquor Store has quickly taken shape over the summer months.

Less than six months ago the old Winnipeg hotel was still standing and the new liquor store was more a dream than reality. However, the old building was torn down this spring and the new one is up and with work being done on the interior.

The original plan, according to owner Bill Irvine, was to have the liquor store open by last Christmas, but there were delays that slowed the process.

“There were some hazardous materials, like lead paint, that needed to be cleaned up,” said Irvine, adding this is typical in old buildings. Other challenges included dealing with precarious cables that needed to be carefully removed by hand.

Once that was done, the new construction began and the new building seemed to appear overnight.

“Now we are moving at mach speed,” said Irvine.

He plans on having the new liquor store open by the end of September.

Inside the wiring is done and they are currently having the coolers installed.

“At this stage, everything goes quickly,” said Irvine said.

Irvine, who owns six liquor stores with his company Brown Bridge Ventures Ltd., wanted to pay tribute to the original building so he named this one the Winnipeg Liquor Store.

“Everyone already calls it the Winnie,” he laughed. “We didn’t want to change that.”

During construction, he tried to salvage as much heritage material from the original structure as he could, but found that to be more difficult than expected.

“There was a railing that was of use to someone, so we let them have it,” he said, of the railing that led to the old restaurant upstairs. “We wanted to salvage the old hardwood floors but that was a lot harder to do than we thought.”

He plans on making this liquor store stand out from other stores in town by keeping a selection of wines from everyone winery in the Okanogan and Similikameen area.

“We are going to have the beset selection we can,” he said, adding that because his store is privately owned, he can bring in wines from even the smallest wineries in the area.

“Wineries need to be able to produce a significant amount to register with the BC liquor store wine list,” he said, noting that’s not the case with his liquor stores.

Customers can expect to find at least a few types of wine from every winery in the area, regardless of the size.

This is something that Irvine practices in all his liquor stores, which he owns in Osoyoos, Keremeos, Oliver and Penticton.

Irvine plans on having an official grand opening once they do open their doors to the public.  

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