Ginger Perkins (pictured at right) had toyed with the idea of owning her own business for several years. She had noticed a change in the mentality of Blount County citizens and within the community that made her continue on her journey.
Perkins said that one change she noticed was the younger population leaving the community after high school and then returning several years later wanting a local place to purchase unique wines and beer that they had become accustomed to purchasing while living outside of the county. While the stars didn’t line up initially, her idea became a reality in October 2018, when she opened Grapes & Hops, a wine and craft beer store in downtown Oneonta.
According to Perkins, Grapes & Hops offers a wide variety of wine, including sweet Moscato wines, Bourbon barrel wines, and wines from several Alabama breweries. Customers will also find a large selection of beer including light pilsners, coffee and stout beer, and fruit flavored sours. Perkins said there are new and different choices each week.
When browsing through the store, customers will be amazed at the wide variety of stock Grapes & Hops has for purchase. Customers will also be amazed at colorful and creative cans that house the beer. Perkins said, “It’s not just plain beer anymore.”
Beer names are now just as colorful as the can. With names such as Tiger Chainsaw Arms, Stout at the Devil, Dirty Beaches, White Zombie, and Tiny Bomb, customers can purchase a six-pack of one selection, or build their own six-pack with favorite choices.
Perkins said while at the present time the top wine seller is a sweet Moscato, there has been an upward trend in Bourbon Barrel wine, which is aged in Bourbon wine barrels to give it a unique flavor. Sour beer from a Birmingham brewery is presently the number one beer seller.
Wine and beer are not the only items available at Grapes & Hops. They also offer local products such as soap, welded refurbished pieces, and jewelry. These local products, along with candles, dip mixes, and pewter pieces, make shopping there even more enjoyable. Perkins hopes to add gourmet cheeses soon. Free gift-wrap is available for those special gift purchases.
In an attempt to open people’s eyes to discover new wine and beer choices, Grapes & Hops offers several free wine tasting events each month. These public tastings are usually held from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. and offer three or four wine selections, as well as a couple of beer choices. Wine tasting events will be held Thursday, May 9, Fridays, May 17 and 31, and Wednesday, May 22.
Perkins encourages people to ask for their favorite wine or beer and she can try to add it to the stock. She also wants people to know that she takes special orders and offers case discounts for special events. She mentioned that parking is limited downtown; to help ease the frustration she suggests patrons park in back of the store and become “a back door guest.”
As the business continues to be established, Perkins is extremely grateful to the community and patrons. She said she has received such a positive response from the community.
Grapes & Hops is open Monday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. They are located at 231 First Avenue East and were recently recognized as Blount County Emerging Business of the Year by the Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce.
For more information, follow Grapes & Hops on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or call 205-558-6050.