Perks aren’t just for the staff at this Chattanooga wine, spirits and beer shop

Photography by Matt Hamilton / Imbibe General Manager Marc Denis
Photography by Matt Hamilton / Imbibe General Manager Marc Denis


When it comes to corporate perks, the staff at Imbibe gives at least as good as it gets.

General Manager Marc Denis says the Broad Street wine, spirits and beer store offers employee benefits including continuing education, leadership training and Christmas bonuses.

"We have a lot of representatives in from wineries, distilleries and breweries," Denis says. "We encourage our staff members to sit down and chat with them, get a deeper understanding of their product. And management training is something that's very important for us to better ourselves and create a really enjoyable environment."

Denis adds that Imbibe staffers also get discounts on the store's product, as well on food and non-alcoholic beverages at nearby restaurants Kenny's Sandwich Shop, St. John's and Meeting Place. All four businesses are owned in part by Josh Carter.

"And everyone's invited to the Christmas party at Meeting Place," Denis says.

But Imbibe not only does for its own -- Denis says the store is called on regularly, especially during the holidays, by area businesses looking to craft perks for their employees.

"We start getting significantly more busy in October," he says. "It's like (flipping) a light switch, going from September to October. More customers are looking for that special gift, unique gifts for their teams; we have multiple avenues we can take to offer them something."

Denis says those options include accessories such as stemware, shakers, flasks, decanters, growlers and barware. He says Assistant Manager Claire Brent "puts together lovely gift boxes," custom-made based on the customer's specifications.

  photo  Photography by Matt Hamilton / A gift box of organically-produced natural wines at Imbibe.
 
 

"We get a lot of calls for those boxes," he says. "Claire has a wealth of product to work from in making those gift boxes unique."

Imbibe can go big as well, Denis says, as in the case of a customer just this year.

"We recently worked with a relatively large local business," he says. "They wanted to do something unique and extraordinary for their team, and we were really excited about it."

Denis says the customer opted for Imbibe's Private Barrel Program, which involved consultation with Spirits Director Garrett Mikulka -- and typically has a price tag of about $10,000. In that setting, Denis says, Mikulka works with boutique distilleries as well as "heritage" brands. He'll consult with the customer, obtain samples from multiple barrels and assess those samples with the customer before choosing the winning brand.

"The distillery whose sample was chosen is told and, in a matter of weeks, the contents are bottled and labeled with the distillery's name," Denis says. "The customer will then have 11 or 12 cases of its very own bourbon or tequila, that are relatively customizable -- a message the customer wants, a logo, or both."


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