Piq Liquors’ Lavaca location, within spitting distance of a neighborhood church, is unusual, but the shop doesn’t stand out; the interior and exterior, with a cheerful cartoon porker hanging above the door, are benign and inviting. There is no shady atmosphere, no austere white shelves of cheap alcohol, not even a bawdy theme or slightly lewd presence. Instead you’ll find a very friendly owner and a tiny eclectic space that resembles a boutique or gallery more than a liquor store.
Anet Alaniz opened the shop on April Fool’s day of this year, but her inspiration came four years earlier when she moved into a neighborhood just east of the Alamodome and found that the only places where she could purchase alcohol nearby were overpriced, inconvenient, dangerous, or all three. Alaniz ruminated on the idea until the converted house at 1017 S. Presa went on the market in August 2009.
In addition to wine, beer, and spirits, Alaniz stocks work by local designers — including adorable frilled and lacy aprons, some covered in colorful sugar-skull patterns — and antique and novel glassware. A bathtub stands in one room, a beautiful couch and chair set in another. Shot and wine glasses twinkle from countertops and shelves, pigs smile out from T-shirts and figurines, and cats meow in the bathroom — wait. In the middle of our chat Alaniz got up to reveal a set of week-old kittens she adopted through the Feral Cat Society. Her store, likewise, is pet-friendly. Any dog who enters gets a free pig ear and a lot of attention from the shop owner herself. Her liquor selection is small, but Alaniz is willing to order anything the community requests.
Alaniz says Pig Liquors thrives off the vitality and activity of its community. “I’m fun, the neighborhood is fun … My family history is here,” she told the Current. “My grandmother lived on Durango before HemisFair.”
But her customer base is not growing fast in these hard economic times. “I’m hanging on, but I really need to get the word out. ... I don’t think I’ve really let people know I’m here,” she said. “I just need more traffic. If I can hold on three more months before the holidays, I’ll be over one big hurdle.”
One surefire draw? Free hooch. “Every first Friday we have a different tasting. We’ve had enchiladas, wine, and tequila. In August we’re going to have an international-beer tasting, because August 6 is International Beer Day.” •
1017 S. Presa