- December 8, 2015
The man behind plans for a downtown "one-stop shop for purchasing, tasting and learning about craft beer and wine" will appear at a community workshop at City Hall today to discuss the proposed business.
Mark Tuchman, the president and CEO of Sculpin Hospitality Group, hopes to open a bottle shop and tasting room on the ground floor of The DeSota apartment building on Second Street. Called 99 Bottles, Tuchman plans to operate the store out of a 1,200-square-foot space at 1451 Second St.
Under city zoning regulations, the business is classified as both a bar and an alcoholic beverage store. That means it needs city approval for both a major conditional use and a minor conditional use. The major conditional use requires approval in front of the Planning Board and City Commission.
According to documents filed with the city, 99 Bottles would focus on craft beer and wine sales. Within the store, customers could consume beer or wine either on draft or from a bottle. The store also plans to sell growlers of beer and a “well curated, limited selection” of packaged beer and wine.
In the application, Tuchman said the business is designed to capitalize on the growing popularity of craft beer in Florida. He is targeting customers who are already interested in craft beer and fine wine, and believes a small, centralized downtown location will appeal to Sarasota residents.
"At the moment, options are limited to big box stores with sub-par selection or Mom & Pops that are — literally — few and far between," Tuchman wrote in a presentation included with the application.
Downtown residents have previously expressed concern about plans for new alcohol-focused businesses. Today’s community workshop will offer a venue for public feedback to the plans for 99 Bottles. In the application, Tuchman said the business will have a low-key environment.
The business plans to hold events and offer some small plates and packaged food for consumption on-site. The presentation emphasizes that 99 Bottles is not "a rowdy pub, local watering hole, or even a place to watch the big game, (but) it is a place to gather with friends."
Tuchman previously founded the Gulf Gate craft beer bar Mr. Beery’s. Tuchman sold the business in 2014.