Everybody’s story has a beginning. Whatever the book is about, there has to be a first chapter. At JB Liquors in Swedesboro, Floor Manager Gerry Garcia’s opening lines were written at about 40 degrees. “Everybody’s gotta start somewhere, and for me, I started stocking the coolers,” he said. While Gerry was stocking the coolers, he was constantly reading the labels of all kinds of beer that he had never heard of or seen before. The first craft beer he tried was Blue Moon, and he didn’t even know what an IPA was, but the rest is JB Liquors history.
JB Liquors opened eight years ago at the current location. Prior to that, owner Kulwinder Singh had owned Clark’s Liquor in Millville and was looking to expand into Swedesboro. They found a prime location at the corner of Center Square and Auburn Roads in an upcoming shopping center. JB Liquors was open for four years before Gerry was hired; he came from a factory and had no knowledge of beer or liquor aside from what he liked to drink himself. Over the last several years, his knowledge has grown extensively, along with the craft beer selection at JB Liquors. The craft beer aisle has doubled in size, and the space once designated for mixers now contains additional craft selections, as well.
JB Liquors has seen tremendous progress over the years, and the customer’s tastes drive what brands are on the shelves. Most new beers that are brought in are due to customer request, most notably in the last year, New Belgium Fat Tire. The demand was there, but the beer had yet to arrive in New Jersey. When New Belgium launched in the state it was a game changer, according to Garcia. This year Gerry sees a lot of interest in citrus beer. “anything with flavors of grapefruit, lemon, or citrus is on fire. We can’t keep it in stock,” he says.
Gerry credits Kramer Beverage salesperson Jessica Ritter for fostering a great relationship with the store. He is able to trust her recommendations and stay ahead of trends so that they always have plenty of beer in stock to meet customer demand. He also noted that it’s great to be able to stock up when Kramer has sales and build eye-catching towers of beer displays with merchandiser Steve Wooster. They like to offer their customers samplings and see a direct correlation in what gets sampled, and what is purchased over the following months. It all starts with great customer service between Kramer Beverage and JB Liquors, and great customer service between JB Liquors and their customers. That’s what drives us from the warehouse to the consumer.