If you’re buying a hard-to-find craft brew at Capitol Hill’s Argonaut Wine & Liquor, you’ve got beer buyer Dan Chacon to thank. For more than eight years, Chacon has worked to cull the store’s impressive beer selection. The result is shelf after shelf of local brews, unique bombers, and plenty of classics (there’s still a place for Natty Light). Beer accounts for nearly a third of the store’s sales, and on Labor Day this year, suds were the top seller.
Pro tip: Head to the shop during the Great American Beer Festival because Chacon stashes away favorite brews and limited releases throughout the year to sell during the annual event.
5280: How is the business different now from when you started?
Dan Chacon: There has been quite a bit of change. There are so many more breweries. So many more beers. There are more things to look at and things to oversee.
How do you pick what goes on the shelves?
I like to look at the trends and styles of beer. We also like to cater to Colorado breweries and give them a chance. I have a good ear out. I look at a lot of beer posts and see what people are looking for.
What’s big right now?
Sours are on the rise. Anything with different infusions. Brewers are just trying to get a little creative because everyone is looking for something new.
Do you have a favorite style?
I like bourbon barrel-aged stouts.
So, what is a typical day like? Is it just fun all the time?
It’s a lot of looking at numbers and trying to keep inventory under wraps. At least five times a week, I get hit up with new products. One of the hardest parts of my job is finding space. It’s a lot of Tetris. It’s about moving things and squeezing things in. We map it out.
What are your busiest times?
Obviously, the weekends and holidays. Leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Halloween is really a big beer holiday for us. And GABF.
What happens during GABF?
We just have a huge spike that week—a lot of people come in. We get a lot of foot traffic because we’re so close to downtown. People stock up on things they can’t get at home; we sell a lot of specialty bombers. We see people walking out of here with hundreds of dollars of beer.
What do you drink when you don’t feel like beer?
I like Scotch and wine with dinner. I don’t pair beer with dinner, but I’ll have one to relax after a really busy day. I still love beer enough that I don’t get tired of it.