The Foss Drug Company sold liquor in Colorado for more than 100 years, opening in downtown Golden as a general store before moving across the street to 1224 Washington Avenue in 1913. The combination pharmacy and liquor store closed in 2007, but the Foss family still owns the property, and their newest tenant in the space is continuing a long tradition by taking over one of the oldest retail liquor licenses in the state.
Colorado natives Brendan Russell and Eric Schapiro signed a lease for part of the building last fall and opened Foss Company, a boutique bottle shop specializing in small-batch wine, spirits and beer. Russell explains that the entire Foss Drug Company building covers about 4,000 square feet and has been divided into four separate retail spaces, one of which is still vacant. Their liquor store fills 1,200 square feet, and there's also a small common area between all the shops.
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Schapiro notes that the original drug store was able to continue selling spirits through Prohibition because laws at the time allowed pharmacists to write prescriptions for alcohol. The business partners, both graduates of the Culinary Institute of America who have worked at ChoLon, Mercantile Dining & Provision, Frasca Food and Wine, Rosenberg's Delicatessen, Bonnano Concepts and the Preservery, ran into their own issues with prohibitive laws while opening the shop, since Golden did not allow tastings at liquor stores. But they worked with the city to have the regulation changed, and they now host regular beverage tastings as well as educational events on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays to help customers learn about artisan products.
"Hospitality has been a big part of our careers, and we want that to be a big part of our shop, too," Schapiro explains.
"We like to carry products that come with unique stories," adds Russell, "and we want to share those stories with our customers."
Foss Company is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. See the liquor store's Facebook page for details and events.