Soon, Maple Grove will be home to the largest liquor store in the state. The 20,000-square-foot space next to Target used be an Office Max, but it is now being transformed into Haskell's.
"The current model of averaging about 8,000-square-feet is just not enough," said Ted Farrell, president of Haskell's.
Farrell says the big box booze store will more than double the size of his other 12 locations. He envisions space for wine tasting and classes.
"The growth in the liquor store is so massive," Farrell continued, pointing to the proliferation of craft distilleries in the state. "Minnesota now has 15 wineries. The liquor industry is growing by leaps and bounds -- not to mention craft beers."
Almost a year ago, John Wolf, owner of Chicago Lake Liquor, opened a nearly 10,000-square-foot store in St. Louis Park called Liquor Boy.
"I call it warehouse chic. There are other stores nationally where it is a much bigger trend, and now it's hitting the Twin Cities marketplace," Wolf said. "I was the first one to dip my toe in it, and now, others are certainly following."
As competitors, both men acknowledge different sales philosophies about variety and pricing attract different customers. So far, reviews are mixed.
"Prices and availability and what they've got for wines -- a wonderful selection," said one man from Minnetonka.
"I wouldn't shop there," Jill Christopher, from Maple Grove said. "I go up to Osseo for premier liquor. Smaller businesses need business."
Time will tell how long the buzz around the supersized beer and wine stores will last.
"Listen, if I have 20,000-square-feet, am I going to sell more? Absolutely no," reckoned Wolf.
Farrell, however, remains optimistic.
"The metro area keeps on growing. So, you got to keep on growing," says Farrell.
Haskell's in Maple Grove is expected to open in time for the holidays.