Our History

Surdyk’s Liquor store is every connoisseur’s dream. In business since 1934 and run by three generations of the Surdyk family, its wide assortment of cheeses, wines, liquors, beers and cigars, combined with the store’s superior service and knowledgeable staff, keep customers strolling down the many aisles of this Minneapolis store. Joseph Surdyk, grandfather of current owner Jim Surdyk, started the store soon after the end of Prohibition. Joseph figured that selling liquor, in addition to groceries, would help bolster the family income. So when the Minneapolis City Council approved the first legal liquor sales on January 26, 1934, he bought his license with $200 of borrowed money, and on February 2, 1934, set up the first Surdyk’s Liquor store at 219 East Hennepin. In those days, Surdyk’s was a small corner shop with only three or four employees, just down the street from where it sits today.

After Joseph’s son Bill began working in the store in the early 40s, it blossomed. Upon his father’s death, Bill Surdyk considered new ways to expand, eventually moving the liquor store to improved facilities at 205 East Hennepin in 1967. Two years later, when fair trade was suspended in 1969, the enterprising Bill foresaw a really big opportunity ahead. He immediately jumped into the discount liquor business, backed up by supermarket merchandising featuring low prices and great service. The response was gratifying. Surdyk believed it was the store’s self-service supermarket atmosphere that boosted volume.

In 1979 the store moved to the 300 block of East Hennepin, where it remains today. The addition of a specialty cheese shop, selling olive oils, vinegars, breads, pastas and other gourmet foods to complement any beverage, provided yet another venue for Surdyk’s to win numerous awards over the years. In the main store, clean green and white tiles grace the floor, upon which stacks upon stacks of beers, wines and liquors are carefully placed to provide the customer with user-friendly shopping. The store’s side and back walls feature cordials and liquor. The center aisles display an extraordinary selection of wines, lit from above by chandeliers made from antique bottle dryers once used in French chateaux, purchased from Minneapolis’ Dyckman Hotel to create the aura of the Old World in this ultra modern store.

Jim Surdyk has shown an ever-greater commitment to service, especially by expanding the wine department, thereby embracing the rising popularity of wine in the 80s. He hired experts as wine buyers, added more selection in Spanish, South African and Chilean products, plus his selection of wines from boutique wineries. When a domestic vintner has a production run too limited to sell through distributors, he sells directly to the store. Surdyk’s also offers a variety of wine education classes, including an Intro to Wine class, classes that focus on specific regions or varietals and now include beer classes for the ever-expanding import & craft market and the always popular World of Cheese.

Surdyk’s features a 200-square-foot walk-in humidor, installed in 1994, making Surdyk’s the first local alcoholic-beverage store to take cigars seriously. The store has a solid selection, carrying over 250 different types of cigars.

We invite you to visit Surdyk’s and experience for yourself the knowledgeable staff who will help even the timidest wine novice learn to be a smart wine shopper, recommend a great smoke to go with one of our fine offerings from our extensive liquor selection,  or even design a custom cheese tray that is sure to impress any gourmand!

With the addition of Surdyk’s Flights to the family- Jim Surdyk’s children: Melissa, Molly and Taylor, will continue the tradition of the same wonderful products and service like his family before him.