EXETER — The best beer stop in a state known for churning out the product isn’t in mammoth metro cities like Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, but in Exeter, according to a recent take by Men’s Journal.
The monthly men’s lifestyle magazine this week named Sabatini’s Bottleshop & Bar among the 50 best beer stores in America, saying the local shop is “at the front of the pack” in tasting room-style stores. The article chose the best beer store in each state.
In naming their choice, the New York-based magazine considered “any store with a healthy stock and reputation for championing craft beer,” the article says. “Then, we looked at selection, service, events, outreach, and even how beer is stored.”
Sabatini’s met the criteria, said Men’s Journal writer Matt Allyn.
Allyn, who penned the article, said he reached out to hop-heads in the craft beer industry for their input on picking a shop in the state, but the former Pennsylvania resident drew mostly off personal experience.
“I lived in PA for about seven years and was a beer writer the whole time,” Allyn said Wednesday in an email.
“Sabatini’s beer selection is phenomenal, but it’s also a very comfortable environment and the staff does a great job helping customers navigate the beers,” he said of the choice. “At the end of the day, if I could pick one Pennsylvania beer shop to transplant in my neighborhood, it’d be Sabatini’s.”
Owner Lindo Sabatini, whose longtime family-owned pizzeria neighbors the bottle shop on Wyoming Avenue, said he was surprised to learn the magazine tabbed the bottle shop as best in the state.
“We weren’t expecting it because we aren’t in a big city, we’re in Exeter,” Sabatini said Wednesday. “We weren’t expecting people to find it here, but we’ve always known it’s one of the biggest selections in the country.”
The bottle shop, which celebrated its one-year anniversary June 8, offers 23 taps. Cheese plates and pizza are available to pair with a draft or one of the other nearly 2,500 canned or bottled beers in the shop.
Sabatini said the congratulations have been pouring in since the article appeared online Tuesday.
“It’s definitely is amazing to see we’re starting to be known on a national level,” he said.
Sabatini said beer lovers come from all over the Mid-Atlantic region seeking hard-to-find products.
Some come from Philadelphia or Harrisburg, others trek from New York or New Jersey, he said. He believes the farthest traveler hailed from Buffalo.
Sabatini said it’s too soon to tell whether the article will bring even more bodies through the doors.
“It won’t hurt business,” he said. “That’s for sure.”
The recognition comes as Pennsylvania continues to rank among the nation’s top producers of craft beer.
The Brewers Association, a national organization of brewers with over 45,000 members, noted in its 2015 craft beer sales statistics that the Keystone State ranks first and second in the nation in barrels of craft beer made per year and economic impact, respectively.
The organization notes the number of breweries in the state has more than doubled since 2011. The state’s 178 craft breweries, which includes the nation’s oldest — Yuengling — as well as a handful of local breweries, ranks it eighth in the nation.