By Pete Rizzo
It’s rare that alcohol leads to good decisions, but in the case of John Ha, owner of City Wine Cellar in Staten Island, New York, the urge to buy his favorite beverages – in this case wine and liquor – in bitcoin, lead him to find a new space in the burgeoning virtual currency market.
“I love the concept – a currency that can be used around the world,” Ha told CoinDesk. “The problem was looking for products and services that would accept bitcoin. It is very limited.”
Thinking other consumers would want to spend bitcoin to quench their thirst, Ha began accepting the payment method both online and at his bricks-and-mortar store.
After just a few short weeks, the Pennsylvania University graduate reports City Wine Cellar has received several orders without advertising, though he notes it’s too early to discern any trends in this customer base.
However, if there’s a store that can reach a large audience it might just be City Wine Cellar. Ha says that today, his shop is the highest grossing liquor store on Staten Island.
The results aren’t too shabby for a relative industry novice – Ha decided to enter the liquor business after an eight-month internship at Johnson & Johnson and had no prior industry experience. He explained:
“None of us knew anything about the liquor business. I went to work for the largest store on staten island.
One year later we opened up a liquor store. Five years later, that store became the number one liquor store on Staten Island.”
It wouldn’t be the last time Ha was able to pick up a new subject quickly. Ha says he first learned of bitcoin from a cousin years ago when it was still below $1 per bitcoin.
“He had told me in the summer he is now a millionaire,” Ha recalls. “After that, he got my attention and I wanted to know about bitcoins and what it is all about.”
Are there any stores in your local area that have started accepting bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below.