Q&A: Adam Roelle, Weiland’s beer and spirits manager

By Columbus Alive
From the June 21, 2012 edition

Adam Roelle has probably forgotten more about booze than most of us will ever know. He became infatuated with craft beer at an early age and has always been drawn to the finer stuff.

Roelle honed his knowledge and cocktail techniques while working as a bartender in Chicago, and he became the beer and spirits manager at Weiland’s Gourmet Market about two years ago. He immediately started to work with the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control to make more craft liquors available in the state.

Instead of starting out with the macro beers, I started out drinking really good beers. Except for Olde English. In the summertime, going to a party or something I love to bring a 40-ounce.

When I first got here, I gave the superintendent of liquor control, Bruce Stevenson, a pretty long list of stuff that our customers want. That was over a year ago, and I think we’ve gotten four things in. It feels like constant work. I’ve got to be the squeaky wheel to bring people what they want. People just end up getting it across the borders anyway.

When it comes to high-proof — anything over 21 percent — it’s just sales-based. If it sells enough, it can come to the market and stay. A lot of the craft stuff doesn’t even get accepted into the state at all.

We need all the bartenders and craft drinkers of Ohio unite and liberate our libations. Please have your readers email their requests to adam@weilandsgourmetmarket.com. Tell me what you’d like to get on a regular basis and say that you want your taxes to go to our state rather than somewhere else. I forward those on to the superintendent of liquor control so that there’s a constant reminder to them that it’s not just me.

The thing I’m most proud of getting into Ohio is Ransom Old Tom Gin.

What we need in this state is a good smoky mezcal. There are a lot of things that are missing, but that’s the main one. I’m also trying really hard to getRowan’s Creek, Noah’s Mill — basically the Kentucky bourbon distillers’ portfolio. I’ve gotten so many requests for that.

Everyone needs a quality vermouth in their bar. It can change a drink more than making a Manhattan with a high-end whiskey. If you’re using not the best vermouth, it’s just going to cover up the best parts of that whiskey. Go through your vermouth often too, because it goes bad. That and fresh fruit.