Sarah Protzman Howlett

Sarah Protzman Howlett

After 50 Years, Hi-Time Wine Cellars Remains a Community Institution

Beverage Dynamics | April 2016 | Visit the original article online

Chuck Hanson remembers the first six-pack he ever sold. It was 1957. His brother, Fritz, and brother-in-law, Jim McVay, built a beer store at 17th and Irvine in Costa Mesa, California, using land they’d inherited from Fritz’s in-laws.

“Fritz’s father-in-law really encouraged him to use the land wisely—to do something with it,” Chuck Hanson recalls. “So we said, ‘It might as well be beer. Everybody knows beer.’” The trio built a tall, a two-sided clock outside the store and named it Hi-Time.

After a customer pulled that first six-pack off the shelf and paid for it, the three went home and celebrated with a $2 bottle of Champagne. “That was the nice stuff,” Chuck says. “And we thought, ‘This is going to be easy.’”