Best Liquor Store In Apple Valley, MN

Where is the best place to buy liquor, beer, wine, and mead? In many areas there can be so many that it can be hard to figure out. In lots of places, alcohol is sold in all retail stores. You could stop at a Walmart, Target, or gas station and find alcohol. When it is so ubiquitous, is it worth trying to figure out where the best liquor store is?

If you are asking where the best liquor store is and you are living in Apple Valley, Lakeville, Farmington, Burnsville, or Eagan, Minnesota, then there are only so many options, because some of this region restricts the sale of alcohol to municipal liquor stores. Unless you want to purchase very low ABV % beer, or Near Beer as it is sometimes called, which can be sold in stores like Target or Walmart, then you have only a few options.

I want to give my opinion as to how good or bad each store is.

I think the big options are Lakeville Liquors, Apple Valley Liquors, Total Wine & More, and Perrier Wines and Liquors.


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Lakeville Liquors

Lakeville Liquors is the municipal liquor store chain that sells alcohol in Lakeville. There are 3 locations. Galaxie, Heritage, and Kenrick.

The Galaxie location is at the intersection of 160th and Galaxie, by a city park and across the road from Pahl's Market.

The Kenrick location is over by Baskin Robbins. These two locations (Galaxie and Kenrick) are basically on the line between Apple Valley and Lakeville.

The third location is the Heritage location and is closer to the downtown area of Lakeville. It is near Teresa's Mexican Restaurant and Cub Foods.

I have only ever been to the Galaxie location. The stop lights at the entrance to that location are the worst part of going there. The stop lights take forever to cycle through and turning out of Lakeville Liquors can be kind of tricky. Other than that, I have only positive things to say about them.

The parking lot and building are beautiful and clean. The store interior is well organized, and while the liquor and beer area are just typical shelving aisles, the wine area that is sorted by region or country of origin (appellation) is carpeted, has custom wood shelving, and is differently and more dimly lit for ambiance.

The selection of Lakeville Liquors is pretty good. I could imagine a better stocked store, and I have gone in looking for a particular type of beer that they did not carry on a few occasions, but they do a good job generally. They have lots of the local craft breweries, and even quite a few bigger breweries from other states. I would like to see more offered, but they do have enough to satisfy all but the most picky of liquor customers.

Before the time of COVID-19, they regularly had representatives from different breweries, wineries, or distilleries come in and offer tastings. Their tasting bar is very nice and I miss taking advantage of the opportunity to try new things there. I hope COVID ends soon and they can bring that back.

Lakeville Liquors was one of the first businesses in the area to transform their store and operations to make it safer in the face of COVID. They shut down to deep clean the store and to install plexiglass shields around the checkout areas. Lots of retails stores have installed little plexiglass barriers that appear to be more for show than for function, but Lakeville Liquors' shields are full scale and effective. The cashiers are basically in their own little clear room. Kudos to Lakeville Liquors for taking the pandemic so seriously and protecting their employees.

To minimize contact between customers and employees, employees have access to a scanning gun at the check out where they scan their own barcodes. Customers show their IDs to the cashier, then pay by card at the terminal. There is effectively no contact. For a time they were even restricting the number of customers into the building at a time, only allowing people in as other people left.

I feel very safe going to Lakeville Liquors, and their locations make them very convenient.

You can pay a fee to join the Lakeville Liquors Brew Club or Wine Club, which allows you an in store discount on most items, and access to private tasting events that they hold several times per year. I have let my membership go, but while I had it, I really enjoyed their tasting events!

I have not been to the other two locations, so I cannot make a judgement about them, but I would rank the Galaxie location as being the second best option for liquor stores in the area.


Total Wine & More

Total Wine and More is a national chain of liquors stores. The stores are like the Costco or Sam's Club of alcohol, not in the sense that you have to be a member or buy in large quantities, but that they offer a huge variety of options.

The location I've been to is in Burnsville next to the Target and Godfather's Pizza. They sell practically anything you can think of. I have never gone in looking for a brand of beer, liquor, or wine and been unable to find it. It really is a mega store.

Total Wine offers tastings almost every day, which is one of the reasons I choose to shop there over the alternatives. They have a wine and liquor tasting table which is open most days and most times. They sometimes have an external company posted towards the front of the store offering a special brand at a folding table. On weekends they have beer tastings with brewery representatives offering samples and explaining the beers.

I really value the opportunity to do tastings and try before I buy. There is an overwhelming level of choice available, and that can make it hard to decide on something to buy. I know what I already like, but trying something new is like a gamble. I might end up hating it and feeling like I wasted my money. By having samples, I get to try new things, compare the options, and leave with something new that I already know I like.

The staff at Total Wine are knowledgeable about the products. They tend to have background knowledge of alcohol, but the company also provides training in the form of classes and an allowance that they can spend at the store so that they can try products and have relevant information to share with customers. Ask anyone working at Total Wine for a recommendation, and they will have something to share with you.

The store also allows employees to print up recommendation cards with their name and photo on them that they can place on the shelving next to their favorite drinks. While you wander the store, those recommendation placards are helpful in deciding between comparable items. It gives the vast selection a bit of contrast and personality.

Total Wine offers classes to the public as well as to employees. You can sign up for tasting classes where you learn about wines from a particular region or the differences between varieties. They also have beer and spirits classes. They are fun events to attend, but they also make you a smarter, more informed shopper, and raises your ability to appreciate and enjoy libations.

I have never really looked into this aspect of Total Wine, but they also sell cigars, so if that is something that you enjoy, they can also serve you in that way.

Total Wine has a rewards program that allows you to track your purchases and earn points towards a discount on a purchase.

Considering all that Total Wine offers, I consider it to be the best option for alcohol in the region. It is my first choice in liquor stores.


Perrier Wines and Liquors

I believe Perrier has two locations, one in the Twin Cities, and one on the edge of Burnsville by Apple Valley. I am focusing this article on locations near Apple Valley and Lakeville, so I will only be covering the location near Valley Natural Foods and Pizza Man. Also, I have never been to their other location.

I had never considered Perrier liquor store before the Coronavirus pandemic. It was slightly out of the way for me and did not seem to be a very large store offering a huge selection, so not much of a reason to drive all the way there. Proximity can be a hugely relevant factor in choosing a liquor store. Being a less than 5 minute drive can outweigh a lot of discounting factors.

While Lakeville Liquors (my regular choice as it is so close to me) was closed to fit the store with COVID-19 safety measures, I needed to find somewhere else to buy alcohol. I wanted to try out curbside pickup so that I could order online or by phone and have contactless pickup. Perrier was the first option I found that offered that. I do not know if other locations have begun offering that service. They very well might have.

I have never been inside of their store because I only used their curbside pickup option. I would call ahead and place my order, then when I arrived in their parking lot I would call the store and tell them which order was mine and that I was there to pick it up. My credit card was already charged, so there was no interaction for paying, and I just popped my trunk and they put my purchase there for me. They closed the trunk and I drove away. A totally pandemic safe and convenient way to buy alcohol.

The staff were friendly and the pickup service was very quick.

I would overall rate this as the third out of four for liquor stores in the area. I do not have anything negative to say about this location, but I just really like Total Wine and Lakeville Liquors, and that is the reason they are not higher in the rankings.


Apple Valley Liquor

Apple Valley Liquor stores have three locations. I have only ever seen two of them and only been to one of them. They have one location next to the Target by Crooked Pint Ale House and Pizza Ranch over on Pilot Knob Road. I have not been inside of that location, but from the outside it looks very nice. The building is large enough to make me believe that they offer a decent selection.

I have been to the Apple Valley Liquor location more in the center of town by Highway 42 and 77/Cedar Avenue. That location is on the end of the Time Square strip mall by Von Hanson's Meats, Osaka Seafood Steakhouse, Pho Valley, McDonald's, and Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers.

The location could be convenient for lots of people living in the center of Apple Valley. That is a big thing this location has going for it.

This location took significantly longer than Lakeville Liquors to install plexiglass barriers and institute COVID cleaning procedures. I am not sure if that was intentional, trying to work with Lakeville Liquors to ensure that at least some regional locations remained open as others closed to install safety equipment. If that was the case, then I am overall grateful that all the liquor stores in the area did not choose to shut down for a week all at once. It otherwise was simply a slow reaction. I believe they have since made their safety upgrades.

I see on their website that they are offering curbside pickup as an option, but I have not tried this service there for myself.

When I shopped at this location, I found the selection to be quite limited. The square footage of the space is small, so they are doing the best they can with the space they have, but the range of brand options and variety is less than the other stores I have mentioned. While they certainly have something representing any type of alcohol you might want (they might not have the IPA from your favorite microbrewery, but they are certain to have some kind of IPA beer), I had to run down my mental list of preferences quite a ways before I found something they had that I wanted.

The store was very basic in its design. The shelving was the basic white metal shelving typical of smaller stores. The tile was bland. The store just did not feel really nice and inviting the way Lakeville Liquors does. I kind of enjoy being at Lakeville Liquors and can feel good about spending some time there browsing the products. At Apple Valley Liquor I feel more like I would rather get in and get out quickly. It does not seem unclean, but just poorly decorated.

My favorite type of wine is Frontenac Gris, a very sweet wine made from a Midwestern grown grape. This varietal is not made by wineries all over the country or world, so I would excuse a smaller store for not carrying it, but Apple Valley Liquor did carry it. This was something I found that really pleased me.

I have to give Apple Valley Liquor the last place in this ranking, fourth out of four, mostly because the competition was so stiff and the alternatives are so exceedingly great. Other than my recommendation that the Time Square location be remodeled slightly to make it more inviting, I think they are really doing a good job.


Final Rankings

1st - Total Wine & More

2nd - Lakeville Liquors

3rd - Perrier Wines and Liquors

4th - Apple Valley Liquor


I have generally good feelings about all of the options we have available for liquor stores in this area. I only have minor criticisms of the options, and for that I feel grateful.

Have you been to any of these locations? Let others know what you thought of them in the comments. Do you work at or represent any of these locations? Tell me what you thought of my reviews and rankings. Were they fair? Do you have any improvements, changes, or events in the works that might be relevant to local customers? Let us know!



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