ANN ARBOR — On the rear side of the Plymouth Road Mall, you’ll find The Wine Seller.
As the name implies, the store’s roots are as a wine specialty shop. When they took ownership in 2005, brothers Hardik and Swetang Patel added craft beer. Motivated by the increasing craft revolution a few years later, an expansion took place into the adjoining space vacated when a branch of the Ann Arbor District Library moved into a new building.
Resident shop mutt, Hailey, may greet you at the door with an appeal to be petted before you move on to the outstanding beer selection awaiting your perusal. She has been a fixture in the business since 2009 when she was eight weeks old. After hours, Hailey shares her time between the owners’ homes.
The brothers are equally involved in keeping the store well-stocked. Hardik takes care of the beer buying, while Swetang is in charge of the wine selection. Both know their stuff and are more than happy to help you navigate the myriad choices.
“We try to represent full lineups of Michigan breweries when we can,” said Hardik.
A special order may be possible if they don’t have what a customer wants on hand. Any beverage, from a single bottle to a keg can be requested in person or by calling, e-mailing or submitting an inquiry on the store’s website.
Store manager Dan Rye, who jokes that he has a lot beers named after him, says he’s also the jack of all trades, including dog walker for Hailey. On cue, Hailey popped her head above the counter to agree. Rye, on staff for three years, has a wealth of current craft knowledge and is eager to share it with customers.
Visitors to The Wine Seller are advised to take some time to thoroughly browse the many shelves and cooler spaces. Hidden gems often appear between regular offerings. Craft beer enthusiasts will be pleasantly surprised to occasionally discover a sought-after bottle sitting among the store’s daily stock.
“When special edition beers come in, we will limit a customer’s purchase to single bottles though, so more people can get a chance to try them,” said Hardik.
Friday nights, the brothers host free tastings for customers, with the schedule alternating between beer and wine. Often a brewery or vineyard representative is on hand to discuss the libation being served.