Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Where Pliny the Elder in bottles can be found today

By William Brand
Monday, July 21st, 2008 at 11:34 am in Uncategorized.

Attention Pliny the Elder in bottles shoppers…Just got off the phone with Vinnie Cilurzo, the brewing genius behind Russian River’s Pliny the Elder. Here’s a rough list of where bottled Pliny can be bought – and Vinnie explains that things are just getting in shape and distribution is growing slowly. Right now, no Pliny in the South Bay and none on the San Francisco Peninsula unless a Whole Foods Market stocks it.

  • East Bay: Beer, Beer & More Beer, 975 Detroit Ave., Concord, 925-671-4958
    Bobby G.’s Pizzeria, 2072 University Ave., Berkeley,510-665-8866. Owner Robert Gaustad has ordered the beer to sell at his pizzeria. Hasn’t received it so far.
    Ledger’s Liquors, 1399 University Ave., Berkeley, 510-540-9243
    Monument Wine & Spirits, 2250 Monument, Concord, 925-682-1514.
  • San Francisco: City Beer, 1168 Folsom St., San Francisco, 415-503-1033.
    Coit Liquors, 585 Columbus Ave., San Franisco, 415-986-4036
  • North Bay: Bottle Barn, 3331 A Industrial Drive, Santa Rosa, 707-528-1161
    Oliver’s, three locations:
    546 East Cotati Ave, Cotati, 707-795-9501,
    560 Montecito Center, Santa Rosa, 707-537-7123
    461 Stony Point Road, Santa Rosa,707-284-3530
    Pacific Market, 1465 Town and Country Drive, Santa Rosa, 707-546-3663.
    Wine Exchange of Sonoma, 452 First Street East, 800-938-1794. There’s also a Wine Exchange in Windsor, north of Santa Rosa, 9600 Bell Road, 707-836-8534.

Vinnie says that so far the beer’s not in either the South Bay or the San Francisco Peninsula except for Whole Foods Markets. Pliny and its companion IPA, Blind Pig, are in a number of Whole Foods, in Marin and Sonoma counties; in San Francisco and possibly in other Whole Foods. I just checked Oakland, the beer guy was not at work at the guy who answered said “Pliny WHAT? He did check, but couldn’t find it.

Why Pliny can’t be found in Beverages and More and other large chain stores: The answer, Vinnie says, is they can’t guarantee refrigerated storage. “BevMo approached me to take Pliny and Blind Pig. We decided not to to sell the beer in places that don’t have cold storage for consumers.

“Having refrigerated back-room storage is better. But if the consumer is pulling the beer from a warm shelf, we’re not selling to that store. This isn’t specific to BevMo, it just happened that they approached us,” he says.

Why refrigeration? Vinnie thinks it’s time for beers like Pliny and Blind Pig to be treated with the respect they should have. “Hops deteriorate very quickly and the flavor profile of beers like Pliny and Blind Pig diminish very, very fast. So we’re trying to do everything we can to keep the beer refrigerated as much as possible before it gets to the consumer.”

Cool temperatures, retard spoilage, slow aging of beers.

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  • Mario (Brewed For Thought)

    Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa is flush with Russian River brews of all kinds, not just the new Pliny and Blind Pig.

    It’s nice to see Santa Rosa has so many locations with the beer. It’s about time we had access to this beer. 😉

  • Chuck Purvis


    This is an interesting topic. So, does the brewer recommend drinking Pliny or Blind Pig “right away” or is it OK to keep it in the fridge (or a cool, dark area – – like my garage) for a few weeks or months? Vinnie’s comment that the “flavor profile….diminish[es] very, very fast” leads me to believe we should just be drinking these excellent beers on draught! (easy for me, since I live within spittoon distance of The Bistro 😉

  • William Brand

    If I lived that close to the Bistro, it would be my home. About the beer, Vinnie means don’t store it away for a year and expect a better beer. The hops will have faded wreckng Pliny’s spectacular hop-malt balance. It’s meant to be drunk within a few months.

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