A new venue has popped up in the beverage scene, one that invites customers to get lost in the endless selections available to them.
It’s not unlike walking through the stacks of books in a library, Rob Dalkin said. Instead, The Liberry is a menagerie of assorted beer, wine, coffee and olive oil, to complement a swath of broad tastes.
Dalkin decided to open The Liberry with his wife, Ji, following a long career in the hospitality industry, and beer and wine sales. A Leesburg resident, Dalkin said he felt there was a void in the community after Mike Carroll retired and closed up his longtime Leesburg Vintner shop on the corner of King and Loudoun streets.
“I can’t think of any small town in Virginia or big or small town [anywhere] that doesn’t have sometimes two or three local wine shops. I felt like it was something that the community probably wanted and needed,” he said. “We are going for what Mike’s business was about, but just a little more.”
The “little more” includes its offerings, and not choosing to sell just beer or wine.
“I always thought that was unusual,” Dalkin said of shops that choose to just offer one or the other. “You’re leaving 50% of your clientele on the table.”
The Liberry takes it a step further by also selling a selection of international coffee and olive oil. The choice to include a wide variety of products from across the globe is a nod to the idiosyncrasies of each region where one is produced.
“All these products are about origin. It greatly affects how it’s produced. Where it comes from is so important,” he said.“Secondary is the winemaker, roaster or blender that can put their fingerprint on it. It all parallels the way we describe wine and beer and everything. It just all made sense.”
The Liberry has a bit of a different layout than one may come to expect in a beer and wine shop. Wines, for example, are not assorted by region, but instead by lighter or higher acidity to fuller bodied. A walk by the chardonnay section may help a customer discover that white burgundies have a similar taste, Dalkin said.
“We don’t want to be intimidating. We thought a lot about the feel of the store,” he said. “We don’t want to have the products being offered in the chain stores. We don’t really offer anything under $10; that’s just not who we are. We want you to explore. To me it keeps coming back to the analogy of a library—you kind of get sucked into it, you start to get comfortable and enjoy yourself.”
Dalkin intends to be more of an event-driven business, bringing in experts in the respective beverage industries for talks, and also doing regular weekend tastings.
The Liberry also offers memberships, where for $150 a customer may receive 15% off everything in the store for the calendar year. This year, $22.50 of each membership will go to Loudoun Cares, with the selected nonprofit partner changing each year.
The Liberry is located at 458 Madison Trade Plaza in the Crescent Place neighborhood in Leesburg. Hours for the shop are noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.