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Sauk Prairie Liquor expands selection with new ownership

December 27, 2018

The blue building at 227 Water St. in Sauk City has been the home of Sauk Prairie Liquor since 1994. A recent change in ownership will see the name remain, but the overall inventory is a different story.

Baraboo resident Brian Scarborough purchased the business a few weeks ago from longtime owner Charlie Fuchs. Scarborough officially took over Dec. 17. Scarborough owns BaraBrew Wine and Spirits in Baraboo, and learned the business by working for Franks Beverage -- which distributes products from beer giants Miller and Coors -- and Wisconsin Distributors, which sells Budweiser products.

“I was in independent sales working with businesses like Woodman’s, Neal’s and Raley’s,” Scarborough said. “It’s where I got all my experience. I learned a lot. Eventually I just wanted to do something on my own, so retail was a good transition for me.”

Former owner Charlie Fuchs said he is excited for the community to see the knowledge Scarborough brings to the industry.

“His knowledge of bourbons and microbrews … he has a lot of background and will serve the community well,” Fuchs said. “I felt really good about the transaction.”

While Scarborough only has owned the business for about a week, customers will see an immediate difference, most notably in the beer cooler.

“I wanted to change that up first,” Scarborough said. “I definitely plan to expand the craft beer selection. There will be a lot of things people haven’t seen around here. I want to offer a good variety and have people say, ‘Woah.’”

Sauk Prairie Liquor employee Sue Gentz will serve as the store’s manager. Gentz said so far the transition has gone well.

“I think it’s going to be good,” Gentz said of the upcoming changes. “I am interested in seeing the bigger varieties of beer he wants because I know (craft beers) are really big right now. And I am looking forward to the new scanning system because it will make things so much easier.”

Scarborough plans to offer a core of local favorites and swap out other beers for people to try.

“I really want to hear people’s input,” Scarborough said. “As long as it is sold by a distributor, we will do our best, for sure.”

Scarborough said people who enjoy craft beers aren’t typically brand loyal.

“There’s so much out there,” he said. “That customer base likes to try new things.”

That’s not to say customers who enjoy the classics such as Corona, Miller, Budweiser and Coors won’t be able to find their favorites; Sauk Prairie Liquor will continue to offer those as well.

After the beer cooler is established, Scarborough said he has plans for his liquor and wine cache.

“I want people to come in and be able to see the difference,” he said. “I am really big into bourbons right now; I have a selection in my Baraboo store. There’s a lot of good stuff out there.”

Changes to the building’s exterior, including removing wood shingles in favor of metal and a fresh coat of neutral paint, are planned for the spring, Scarborough said. Future plans to change up the interior include relocating the cash register and possibly adding new shelves.

Fuchs said he appreciates all the support given to him over the years from the Sauk Prairie community.

“Brian wanted to take this on and I have other businesses,” Fuchs said. “The timing was right and I think the Scarboroughs were the right people to do it.”

Scarborough said Fuchs built a loyal customer base he plans to honor, while making improvements to lure new customers.

“The liquor and wine selection will expand and get better over time,” Scarborough said. “Change can’t happen overnight. But I’d like to get the heartbeat back into this place.”

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