Independent liquor store in downtown Seattle to expand wine selection through strategic acquisition
SEATTLE – Jan. 19, 2023 – Downtown Spirits, a premier beer, wine and spirits retailer based in Seattle, today announced it is in the process of purchasing a 100% ownership stake in Esquin Wine & Spirits (Esquin). Founded in 1969 by Rand Sealey and presently operated by Chuck LeFevre and daughters Stephanie Burkhart and Alisha Gosline, Esquin is Washington state’s oldest independent wine merchant.
The acquisition will expand Downtown Spirits’ wine assortment and centralize its delivery operations. The financial details of the transaction, which is subject to approval by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, are not disclosed.
In addition to bringing an increased focus on Seattle’s cocktail culture scene, Downtown Spirits had previously expanded its offering to include over 2,000 fine wines and beers, including exclusive wine offerings discovered through its membership in the Wine and Spirits Guild of America, a national association of wine and spirits retailers. Once this transaction is complete, the retailer will boast a comprehensive 5,400 selection of wine SKUs (including many renowned and highly allocated Washington wines) and 1,200 spirits.
“Our purchase of Esquin is part of Downtown Spirits’ commitment to connecting customers with an expansive range of fine wines and the most knowledgeable sales team in the region,” said Marques Warren, Chief Executive Officer of Downtown Spirits. “With this acquisition, we’re excited to leverage Esquin’s long-cultivated traditions, business practices and deep connections with Northwest winemakers to create more opportunities for customers to access the best products.”
Discussions between Warren and LeFevre began nearly a year ago. The two continued conversations around a potential transaction and it became clear that pairing the two companies would be beneficial for each enterprise’s customers.
“Marques is a forward-thinking retail leader and we are excited to have the future of Esquin under his stewardship. Wine is an important industry in our state–providing jobs in agriculture and trade as well as serving as a vital part of the restaurant and hospitality industries,” said LeFevre. “Wine and alcohol have become serious revenue generators for Washington, which is currently the second largest wine producing state in the country. We are proud to have participated in the dynamic development of the Washington Wine Industry over the past 25 years.”
Downtown Spirits first opened its brick-and-mortar location in Seattle in 2012. Since then, the business has expanded its e-commerce approach significantly; the strategy has generated another year of double-digit sales growth (as other alcohol retailers’ booming pandemic sales of 2020 and 2021 have trended downward). The retailer offers 60-minute local delivery to home and business customers through its own fleet of delivery vehicles as well as its app available on the Apple App Store and Chrome Marketplace.
In 2014, Downtown Spirits was the Seattle-market launch retail partner for Drizly, an on-demand online alcohol marketplace now owned by Uber, and served as their sole retailer and fulfillment partner during its early years. Similarly, Esquin joined Drizly in 2015 and leveraged the platform to enhance sales and growth, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
About Downtown Spirits
Downtown Spirits is an independent spirits, wine and beer retailer in Seattle. The beverage retailer is a subsidiary of Warren’s News & Gift, a family-owned business founded in 1994 that—in partnership with travel retailer Dufry—operates 21 stores at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport including Hudson, Hudson News, Coach, MAC Cosmetics, Filson, Pike & Pine, Tumi, Elliott Bay Books and Alki Bakery. Visit downtownspirits.com for more information.
About Esquin Wine & Spirits
Esquin Wine & Spirits is a family-owned wine and spirits retailer based in Seattle’s SODO district, founded in 1969. The company has been a subsidiary of TMSA Holdings since 1997. Visit madwine.com.