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What a new Mockingbird Station wine and liquor store says about Texas’ spirits business

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission issued almost twice as many package liquor store licenses in 2021 and 2022 than in the years prior to the pandemic.

Fausto and Jaclyn Vallejo are textbook pandemic entrepreneurs, using the most disruptive global health crisis in a century as the impetus to become their own bosses.

The Plano couple also represents another trend. As Texas’ population grows, so does the opportunity for newcomers to enter the fiercely competitive world of selling alcohol.

They opened Perrault Beverage store in Dallas’ Mockingbird Station in mid-December after years of working in the restaurant business. Nearby, there’s ample competition — a Total Wine & More, multiple Spec’s Wine & Sprits and grocery stores with amped-up wine sections in surrounding neighborhoods.

“We were hard at work for our employers during the pandemic. It was a very challenging time and very discouraging,” Fausto Vallejo said. “We decided we had to switch gears to what was always in the back of our heads as a longtime goal.”

The Vallejos aren’t the only ones choosing the wine and spirits business. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission issued almost twice as many package liquor store licenses in the past two years than in the years before the pandemic.

A growing Texas population, new trends in cocktails, shifts in alcohol consumption to home gatherings since the pandemic and more geographic areas allowing alcohol sales are behind the higher numbers.

Since the general election in November, only four of the state’s 254 counties remain dry, said Chris Porter, TABC spokesman. “Not that long ago we still had 50 dry counties, but jurisdictions have been adding permission because it’s seen as an economic benefit for the community.”

The state has almost 60,000 active permits for alcohol retail distribution and wine manufacturing. A lot of those are wineries and distilleries opening tasting rooms as part of a broader tourism push, Porter said.

One of those new licenses went to the Vallejos, who believe they’ve come up with a new experience in alcohol shopping.

Fausto, 38, and Jaclyn, 29, have more than 30 years of combined experience working for restaurant companies, including Phoenix-based Hillstone Restaurant Group and Dallas-based Vandelay Hospitality Group. Perrault Beverage wine director Christina Chilcoat, 37, grew up in Dallas and has 17 years in the business, including as regional beverage director at Royal Blue Grocery, now Berkley’s Market in Dallas.

“The pandemic encouraged us to solidify what we were capable of,” he said.

The checkout at Perrault Beverage, the new upscale wine and spirits store in Mockingbird...
The checkout at Perrault Beverage, the new upscale wine and spirits store in Mockingbird Station. To the left is a glass-encased, temperature-controlled walk-in cellar.(Maria Halkias)

The Vallejos received a permit from the state in 2021 and started working on their store. The store’s dark walls and ceiling and light colored wood shelving lead to a sleek checkout and a 100-square-foot glass-encased, temperature-controlled wine cellar. The business is self-funded and continues to add more inventory.

The wine and spirits store has an upscale ambience in its 2,700 square feet, with a selection of harder-to-get wines and specialty spirits across price ranges. The sweet spot is $25 to $35 a bottle. Small containers of charcuterie meats, cheeses, chocolates and barware are in the mix and used to make custom gift baskets.

Fausto and Jaclyn Vallejo, owners of Perrault Beverage in Dallas' Mockingbird Station. The...
Fausto and Jaclyn Vallejo, owners of Perrault Beverage in Dallas' Mockingbird Station. The Plano-couple's first store opened in December 2022. The plan is to expand the upscale wine and spirits concept into more locations.(Perrault Beverage)

Perrault, which is pronounced Perot, is a French family name on Jaclyn’s side.

“We wanted to pay homage to her family with this European boutique concept,” said Vallejo, who came to the U.S. almost 20 years ago from Venezuela to attend college and stayed.

Location was a huge hurdle with a goal of being close to the Park Cities and Lakewood. The 25-year-old mixed-use Mockingbird Station development, the first in Dallas on a DART train stop, lost tenants during the pandemic and now is adding new ones. It’s on the east frontage road of North Central Expressway and Mockingbird Lane.

The plan is to open one store a year, Vallejo said. Beer sold is all local. Tastings and bottle signings are in the works. A membership program is up and running.

“People are really exploring on the spirits side and learned a lot when they had time during the pandemic,” he said.

Nonalcoholic beverages have expanded into several categories including gin and bourbon and a rose that he says is almost “the real deal.”

“We’ve been open four weeks and every day is a little bit better,” he said.

Twitter: @MariaHalkias

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