Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mapping ABC Licenses

In 2005, our family broke ground on Reynard Florence Vineyard, planting 140 petite manseng grape vines. We thought it would be a fun hobby.

Almost ten years later, we're selling about 1,500 cases of wine a year and our tasting room (a converted tool shed) is bustling with tourists jus about every weekend. We're pleased with our success, but at the end of the day, we're still basically selling one bottle at a time (after providing a tasting for up to eight wines, telling our story etc.) A few local shops and restaurants sell our wine, but we still do 95 percent of our business in the tasting room.

So we want to expand our retail operation. But where are the establishments that are a) licensed to sell wine and b) close enough to our farm for us to self-distribute?

Luckily, Virginia ABC publishes every license they issue. It's a huge dataset with over 18,000 licenses.

These licenses run the gamete from gas stations, grocery stores, breweries, caterers, anyone that can produce sell or serve any type of alcohol. ABC also breaks each license down by type of establishment, address, the year the license was first issued, and what type of license.

We're interested in an establishment that is licensed for On premises and/or Off premises sales. Basically we don't care if a restaurant is selling our wine to drink there, or if a shop is selling our wine for folks to drink elsewhere. Just sell our wine!

Once the data was cleaned up, I geocoded it in QGIS and projected the points, symbolized with different colors for type of establishment; Throw in our local country boundaries, along with our local and state roads for orientation, and presto.  

We're the yellow star in the western edge of Orange County. The three closest locations are the ubiquitous Horton and Barboursville Wineries, with Stone Fire Kitchen nearby. Not surprisingly, most of the licenses are in Charlottesville, the biggest near-by town. But there are other locations to consider in Madison County, Culpepper 

Maybe the next map will be statewide, of all the establishments that carry Reynard Florence wine!