Slijterij De Langstraat, Waalwijk

| Vittoria Roitero

From our office it is only a few minutes walk to Slijterij De Langstraat. So I frequent the place to pick out some tasty beers for the weekend. It's always cozy there, and I feel like they know me and my needs well by now. Today I go there for a blog, and in turn hope to get to know them better.

I step, together with our intern Nikki van Delft, into the liquor store. We are enthusiastically greeted by Sharon Vorster, the owner. "Nice that you are here. Come then let's go downstairs, it's easier to talk" she says as she holds open the gate for the stairs to the cellar. We walk down the stairs and into a spacious office, where we take a seat at a cozy wooden table. Over a cup of coffee, I ask Sharon how long Slijterij De Langstraat has been around. "We opened in February 2023. Previously, there was also a liquor store here in this building. I was employed there, as was my co-worker Marjan van Geffen. When the owner indicated that he no longer wanted to continue with his enterprises, I thought it would be great to start a liquor store myself." Sharon went to find out if her plan was feasible and asked Marjan if she would join her. "Marjan has been in the business for more than 20 years and therefore has an awful lot of expertise. I really wanted her there. We have always had a fine working relationship and still do."

Despite Sharon being ultimately responsible, the two ladies do everything by mutual agreement. "We consult regularly and also recently set up the basement together as a presentation room. Come, let's walk down there." Sharon leads us out of her office and then opens another door in the basement. We step into an attractively decorated room. I see a pair of beautiful wooden chairs by a table made from a wine barrel full of corks. There are also a few bar tables with stools around them and the space is decorated with wine and beer bottles, among other things. "We host tastings here for groups of up to about 18 people," said Mr. K., who is also a member of the board of directors. The tastings are offered in a variety of themes. Sharon: "That can be a very specific theme, for example, such as wines from a particular winery, but also broader such as a beer tasting with a variety of beers from different breweries." Of course, all of this is accompanied by a good dose of information and delicious matching snacks. It sounds like a fun night out that I will definitely keep an eye out for. "We also organize tastings at people's homes. Totally customized and complete with drinks board" Sharon adds.

Informing and advising is what Sharon enjoys most about her job. "I really enjoy it when I can give the customer good wine and food advice. I also like to tell more about different brewing processes, for example, or give tips on dishes with liquor in them. In my spare time I regularly experiment with drinks in dishes and I like to share the successes with my customers." Most of the customers come back to the store regularly, so Sharon and Marjan really know them and can think along with them even better. For me personally, one of the main reasons to get my products from a specialty store as much as possible. Sharon says she regularly sends out a newsletter in which she gives tips and information. "In it we also alert our customers to current promotions and you can read what tastings are on the agenda." You receive the newsletter if you have a loyalty card, Sharon says. With that loyalty card you also save for discounts on products and/or tastings.

We walk up the stairs to the store. It always looks pico bello. Sharon tells us that the wines are sorted by country. The beers are arranged by styles. "We also have a lot of local products like our own De Langstraat Liqueur, mead and beer from Nemeton Brewing and beer from Sint Crispijn, Baros and Opener. They are all good quality products, because quality is really important to me. For example, we don't sell Dutch wines because I don't like the price-quality ratio of those. On the other hand, we do have New World wines, which are wines from non-traditional wine regions such as Israel, for example." When asked which wine Sharon herself is very excited about, she replies, "This red wine from Portugal, which is aged in port barrels. That really gives a special twist to the taste, I love it!" We then walk over to the beer selection. Besides all the familiar, classic beers, there are also very many bottles with colorful labels and funny, ambiguous names. Blonde, double, triple, IPA, Weizen, Barley wine, Barrel Aged, you name it, you'll find it here. They even have an extensive range of gluten-free beers so that people with gluten intolerance can enjoy a tasty specialty beer as well. We check out some more gift packages that are already ready wrapped, ready to go, in various themes. "Many customers find that convenient, but of course they are also welcome to put together their own gift package."

Before we head back to the office, I decide to bring that Portuguese wine Sharon was so enthusiastic about. I'm going to open that one on a nice occasion. Nikki and I walk back to the office. Duty calls, although our heads - after all that talk about booze - are already with the weekend.

Are you looking for some good booze-food advice? Whether it's wine, beer or spirits, at Slijterij De Langstraat they're happy to think along with you and provide tailored advice. The assortment of this cozy liquor store in the center of Waalwijk is incredibly large. Gift packages, beers, wines, meads, spirits, you will undoubtedly find what you need. If not, Sharon and Marjan will be happy to search for you!

Want to know more about Slijterij De Langstraat? Then click here.

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