The Citizen’s Guide to Seattle Beer: The Microbrew Minimart

Meet the man who turned a West Seattle bodega into a citywide phenomenon.

By Joseph Gustav April 22, 2011 Published in the May 2011 issue of Seattle Met

THE SIGN ABOVE the entrance reads “Smokes-Beer-Wine,” but what beer! What wine! Since Min Chung bought West Seattle’s Super Deli Mart (9051 35th Ave SW, 206-937-1442) in 2009, the former beer sales representative and convenience store vet has converted SDM into a hangout for serious suds enthusiasts. They line up for offerings (available in pints, growlers, and kegs) like the super-rare Pliny the Younger from California’s Russian River Brewing and linger over sips at the store’s single wooden table.

You tap kegs that bars want but do not get. Do they hate you?
They call the distributor. “Who the hell is he? A convenience store?" Ultimately the rep has to say, “He’s my number one account. He sells more.” The breweries like me—they use me as a test market for special kegs because I have a lot of customers who are into beers and microbeers.

But you still stock Four Loko and cans of malt liquor.
It’s a convenience store. People expect certain things. You can come in and pick up a Cup Noodles and, at the same time, a $40 bottle of wine.

How do new customers react when they see brewery-­sponsored tastings and people drinking pints in the aisles?
They think I’m breaking the law. In the beginning there were lots of complaints to the liquor board, but it was the liquor board who licensed me.

Does the store live up to its “super” billing? Well, I was the first one in Seattle to bring once-in-a-lifetime kegs to a convenience store. Keep up with SDM’s latest brews on ­Twitter @superdelimart .  

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