By: Tom Fink | Category: Retail | Issue: June 2019
Kwenchers owner Jason Hower is a participant of the Single Barrel Experience with Knob Creek, which allows liquor store owners to select the bourbon whiskey they will carry by sampling different product from different barrels.
Knowing the right wine to pair with your meal can make the difference between a dining experience that’s merely average and one that’s transcendent.
But just as certain wines are meant to complement certain dishes, so certain adult beverages can complement and enhance the experience of a Fourth of July celebration.
No one knows this more than Jason Hower.
“Matching food with wine can make or break a meal, but why just food and wine? Why not pair the right fireworks or firecrackers with beer or spirits to make Independence Day fun as well as it is patriotic?” asked Jason Hower, owner, Kwenchers Wine & Spirits.
Kwenchers guests are encouraged to visit with Hower’s longtime canine companion, “Mac,” a customer favorite.
While the appeal of various beers and spirits are strictly subjective, Hower offered a few fun pairings of adult beverages with their corresponding fireworks.
“For starters, we carry a beer from Boulevard Brewing Company called Tank 7 – Tank 7 begins with fruity aromatics and grapefruit-hoppy notes, but the flavor of this complex, straw-colored ale tapers off to a peppery dry finish – we thought that would pair well with the little firecracker tanks,” Hower said. “Another pairing I thought of was an old-fashioned cocktail with the most old-fashioned thing there is, which is a straight Black Cat firecracker.”
“Another pairing I like is with Roman Candles, which basically shoot big, bright, colorful balls of fire, so why not get some Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey to go with that?” he said. “Really, whatever theme you’re thinking of, or whatever fireworks you’re going to be shooting off or seeing shot off, we can find something to pair with it, and have fun doing so.”
Hower, owner of Kwenchers for the past five years, moved from Kansas nearly 20 years ago. From there, he began working in various liquor stores in northeastern Oklahoma, first as a cashier, then as a manager.
“Fortunately, one of my bosses along the way was nice enough and had enough vision and faith in me as a manager to send me to visit wineries, breweries and distilleries in Oregon, Washington, California and Colorado so I could soak up as much knowledge and history about the products that I could,” he said. “One thing led to another, and after transferring to the manager of a (liquor store) in south Tulsa, I doubled sales within two years, and with that, I sought out an investor, found this property, and have owned Kwenchers for five years now.”
Hower said the location, at 12914 E. 86th Street North, is “ideal” in that there’s a QuikTrip nearby, and his store shares a wall with a supermarket.
“There’s really no better location for a liquor store than to be near a supermarket – people are more inclined to do their shopping – for groceries and spirits – at the same time, and even though there are some wines now available in grocery stores, they still won’t beat the selection you’re going to get at a traditional liquor store,” he said.
Kwenchers offers 11,600 square feet of store space, with more than 2,000 different wines, over 1,500 different beers, and more than 2,000 different spirits to choose from. With so many different items to choose from, Hower said it’s “quite likely” that you can find something to perfectly pair with whatever Independence Day celebration you have planned.
Thinking of bottle rockets? Why not pick up bottles of beer?
“Summer holidays, we move a lot of beer and this year will be exciting for us in that we have the full strength domestic beers – we’ve not been able to sell those before, and this will be our first summer beer season that we’re able to sell cold beer – that’s exciting for us,” he said. “We put in our coolers – 14 cooler doors and a walk-in ‘Beer Cave’ for people to find the beer that’s right for them.”
Hower also said this will be the first year that Kwenchers will be open on the Fourth of July, making it the perfect stop for last-minute purchases.
“For us, this isn’t just huge, it’s extra huge, because the Owasso fireworks display takes place on the golf course behind us, so the community congregates in the parking lot out front to watch it – with us open and open till midnight,” he said, smiling.
In addition to beer, wine and spirits, Kwenchers also offers a variety of nonalcoholic drinks, energy drinks and snacks, many of them made in Oklahoma, such as Rhino Pretzels, made in Edmond, and the perfect snack companion for any beverage, alcoholic or otherwise, Hower said.
“We’re an Oklahoma business, so we support Oklahoma-made products and Oklahoma companies as much as possible,” he said. “We’ve got Oklahoma-made beer, wine, rum, whiskey, we’ve even got a regionally-made vodka.”
So, whatever your preference, when considering how to add a little red, white, and blue whimsey to your Fourth of July festivities, visit Kwenchers in Owasso and ask Hower for his recommendations.
“Whatever you’ve got planned, we’d appreciate you including us in those plans and ask me what kind of beer or spirits to enjoy with your fireworks, and as I always tell my customers, when you drink, please be sure to drink responsibly,” he said.
Kwenchers is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
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