DEARBORN — Don’t let the name fool you. Merchant’s Fine Wine has lots of love for the craft beer crowd.
The store is located at 22250 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn, and to say it offers a vast selection would be an understatement. According to beer manager Annette May, customers have around 1,300 different beers to choose from.
“It’s a huge store,” said May. “Its enormous, and almost half the store is beer.”
With May at the helm of the beer department, customers are in excellent hands. May is a certified cicerone — the first woman in the U.S. to attain the title — and has spent more than two decades working in the beer business. She provides customers with top-notch advice on selecting, pairing, serving and storing their purchases. She also frequently answers customers’ questions by phone and email.
“People are always looking for recommendations,” she said. “I’m going to try to find out what they like to drink, and sometimes encourage them to try something they’ve never tried.”
May noted that she tries to recommend beers that are aligned with each customer’s individual taste rather than beers that are highly rated. And if someone is looking for a gift, especially during the holiday season, she might point them toward something that not only tastes great, but has beautiful packaging, too.
“We have a lot of Christmas beers. A lot of great Belgian Christmas beers,” she said.
The beer department is arranged alphabetically so that customers can easily find what they’re looking for. In addition, there’s a cider and meads aisle; a gluten-free and organic aisle; and an expanded single-bottle section. The store’s make-your-own six pack option is especially popular, and bottles are individually priced so customers can mix and match anything that’s in stock. Draft beer is also a huge seller, and staff are readily available to assist with customers’ keg and tapping questions.
May emphasized that at Merchant’s Fine Wine, great care is taken to ensure stock is rotated and fresh.
“Being a cicerone and having such a large inventory, I’m really conscious of fresh beer,” she said. “I want to make sure they’re as fresh as possible. People are starting to realize that fresh beer is good.”
In addition, May is happy to offer customers tips on how to properly store and serve beer at home. Sometimes, she’ll even give them a quick history lesson on their chosen beer.
“I’m trying to teach people where it comes from,” she said, adding that customers can learn even more at the store’s beer education classes.
Store hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit merchantsfinewine.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.