At Missouri’s biggest liquor store, it’s all about the variety
Located about 30 minutes west of Washington University in Ellisville, Mo., Lukas Liquor aims to make itself worth the trip, according to Shelby Durham, a spirits and beer consultant at the store.
“Since we’re in the boonies, we know that our customers will really be venturing out here for the store. We’re kind of geared towards a higher-end clientele that wants more than just the mainstream stuff,” Durham said. “We sell pretty much everything, and we’re for all kinds of customers, but our stuff is definitely unique.”
The store offers the services of five wine consultants, five beer experts, four spirit advisers and one cigar expert. Customers can pick their own six-packs of beer from the store’s hundreds of options, and the store offers over 50 different varieties of kegs, available for orders upon request.
Lukas can be an educational experience in different brands and varieties of liquor, with everything from obscure foreign beers to whiskeys from small Midwestern distilleries.
Ellisville, MO 63011
According to Durham, customer service is a priority, and the store attracts many regulars. Owner Gary Bilder has worked in retail since the age of 15 and practices a “customer is always number one” philosophy.
“They were fantastic,” said senior Brett Simon, who visited the store last month. “They offered to help get our many bottles of liquor and beer out to the car. I thought it was very helpful and very classy.”
Despite the adult nature of the store, the owners maintain a family-friendly environment. Lukas is located next door to a Chuck E. Cheese’s, and there are lollipops at the checkout for children of all ages.
And despite the store’s high-end selection, prices are low. Durham said that managers scout prices in the area about once a month to ensure that prices are always kept lower than those at local supermarkets, such as Schnuck’s and Dierberg’s, and other liquor stores.
For Wash. U. students, the novelty is what makes the trip worthwhile.
“It was more about the social experience of going all the way out there and sharing the experience of being in the biggest liquor store I’ve ever seen with some good friends,” Simon said. “The experience can be overwhelming, but that’s also the beauty of it.”
With additional reporting by Hana Schuster.