Milford-based liquor store brings Asian offerings to the region

MILFORD — Lynx LaCroix’s foray into the world of small business brings with it a new world of exotic liquors to the city.

LaCroix recently opened the doors to Asian Spirits, located at 171 Cherry St., which he’s proud to say is a liquor store that offers a large selection of alcohol from Asia that is only available in his store.

“This is very new to me, but I couldn’t say enough good things about it,” LaCroix said about opening his new business. “All the wonderful people I’ve met and all the education I’m getting from people in the business to consumers coming in. I think I picked the right business for me.”

LaCroix said a major demographic shift was what led him to focus on Asian alcohol offerings.

“Heretofore really hasn’t been a lot of Asian alcohol offerings available for consumers,” said LaCroix. “There’s a huge demographic shift going on. People are leaving the city, the Chinatowns in lower Manhattan and also in Queens. People are shifting out of those into the suburbs, and Connecticut is attracting a lot of them.”

LaCroix said Milford, in particular, is attracting many people who are relocating. He believes Asian Spirits is the first Asian-focused liquor store in the state.

“There is a huge explosion of Asian businesses, and I’m one of them,” he said. “We are covering everything from the Phillipines, China and Japan. We are also trying to get some Indonesian things. The whole wide range of East Asia over to India as well. We are trying to fill every part in between.”

It has been a challenge for LaCroix to get alcohol from every region. Many alcohols he is getting are being registered with the state for the first time.

“The most consumed alcohol in the world is baijiu (a clear, distilled Chinese liquor),” he said. “No one really knows about it outside the Asian community, but we are introducing it to the Connecticut population who isn’t Asian.”

He said his story is not just geared toward the Asian market.

“We are introducing these wonderful beverages, whether it be Japanese whiskey, craft beer or Chinese white alcohol to a wide variety of Connecticut consumer base,” LaCroix added.

LaCroix said he has extensive knowledge of all the liquor in the store, and there will be more new spirits arriving regularly.

“I lived in China for a little while and traveled to every province in China, and I got to know the very wide diverse range of alcohol there,” he said.

Other than living in China, LaCroix said he traveled to South Korea and other parts of Asia and saw some of their alcohol options.

“To build off that, its consumers tell me what is the best or the highest-quality version of any subcategory and then me going out there and getting it,” he said. “Whether that is going to the country of origin, reaching out the distillery and working the supply chain backward to get that into Connecticut.”

One of the business components LaCroix is implementing at Asian Spirits is giving potential customers a small taste before purchasing their alcohol because it is a new experience to many of them.

“When you import things, the price can be very high, so we want people to feel very comfortable, especially if it’s a category that they haven’t experienced before. We want to make sure when they buy a bottle they don’t hate it,” he said.

If LaCroix could have opened earlier, he would have, but the biggest reason he had to wait was to get the supply in from the different places.

“Getting the supply in was the biggest thing and also getting the product registered in the United States,” he said. “It was a fundamental hold-up.”

After all the hurdles are done, LaCroix expects to have 38 to 48 different baijiu varieties.

“Things like Japanese alcohol I have dozens and dozens of brands from reasonable price points of $30 to almost $400,” he said. “That was easier to get in just because it is an understandable category to people, and I’m also expanding in Japanese beer.”