The Wine Cask
105 Elm Street
Old Saybrook, CT
Square footage: 5,000
Years in operation: 1½ years
By Savannah Mul
David Galanto moved from inland to the shore about two years ago and with that move, he also sold his liquor store, Metro Spirits in Middletown, after 38 years. While he was ready for a personal change, he wasn’t ready to leave the industry. He purchased a retail space in the Stop & Shop Plaza on Elm Street in Old Saybrook, the location of The Wine Cask.
Galanto downsized from owning a 6,500-square-foot store to his new venture, which was about 2,000 square feet at the time of purchase. This past January, he knocked down a wall to accommodate another 3,000 square feet of space, an intention he had for the location from the get-go.
Prior to his owning the store, The Wine Cask sold primarily, and not surprisingly, wine. Galanto said he receives phones calls from curious consumers asking if the store also sells liquor and beer products.
“I’m working on developing a new and different identity [for] the store,” he said. “People think it’s still just a wine store and I want to get away from that. I knew we needed to include the staple items, like Ketel One and Grey Goose, but a lot came from customer feedback [too],” he said.
Diversifying the store’s offerings has been a priority, and with help from area sales representatives, his experience and knowledge of the industry, plus all-important customer feedback, the store aims to be more than its current name. Natural light and wide aisles highlight hundreds of spirit categories and beer SKUs alongside the namesake offerings.
Galanto is looking towards a possible name change in the near future and is also updating the store’s website and presence on social media. The Wine Cask’s Facebook page helps drive traffic into the store and make customers aware of their current full product offerings as well as upcoming tastings.
Compared to his previous Middletown store, Galanto sees a shift in consumer buying behaviors – perhaps due to location, but trending tastes seem to also be a factor. While he sells more wine in Old Saybrook, he remarks brown spirits, such as whiskey and bourbon, have notably been on the rise and craft beers continue to drive steady sales.
The Wine Cask staffs six employees who help work the registers, stock the shelves and manage social media. Galanto blends two passions with his latest venture while enjoying his new shoreline home and business location.
“I love seeing the people every day and I like drinking wine,” he said. “I’m a people person and I love the business.”