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To say that Clark Trim and Henrick Thostrup know a thing or two about wine would be an understatement. The two have worked in the hospitality industry for a combined total of about 50 years, in careers that have taken them all over the world and back to Arkansas.
Trim, an Arkansas native with a hotel/restaurant/catering background, and Thostrup, a Danish-born chef who comes from five generations of hoteliers and restaurateurs, purchased Colonial Wine and Liquor in 1992. Voters named Colonial the winner of the liquor store category in the Times' first Toast of the Town survey.
“We were both civilians working for the military in Greenland,” Trim said. “When I came back to Arkansas, I really wanted to focus on wine and food because there is a real marriage between the two. Helping people understand that marriage was very important to me. So, we took a small, half-pint liquor store and built it into probably the finest wine store in Arkansas.”
Aside from simply having a huge selection (the owners boast 5,000 types of wine and the best sake selection “this side of Tokyo”), Trim and Thostrup pride themselves on educating customers and helping them find the perfect drink for a quiet dinner between friends or a huge corporate event.
“People spend a lot of time buying the best ingredients and trying to prepare the perfect meal,” Trim said. “The last thing you want to do is to serve a wine that overpowers what you've done in the kitchen. So we spend a lot of time with our customers helping them make the right choice.”
Thostrup has been a U.S. citizen for seven years and said that, initially, the move to Arkansas was quite a culture shock.
“Wine was very often part of our meal when I grew up,” he said. “That's very different from here, but Arkansas has come a long way and it's moving in the right direction. There's a growing interest in food and wine here. As Arkansans travel more and become exposed to other cultures, they're more willing to experiment and try something different.”
“And restaurants are another,” Trim adds. “We're getting some really talented chefs in Arkansas and they're doing a great job of bringing great food culture with them and teaching people at the tableside about great wines.”
Colonial also has a wide selection of beer, liquor, cordials and champagne.
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