1969-2019: 50 Years of Premier!

The stores of the Premier Group are proud to celebrate "50 Years of Premier!" in 2019. And what a 50 years it's been! Thanks to our wonderful customers and the passion for fine wines and spirits in our Western New York community, the stores of the Premier Group have grown into some of the largest and most critically-acclaimed wine and spirit stores in the country (if not the world).

Thank you for making all of this possible! We look forward to bringing you the same world-class selections and passionate customer service that marked our first 50 years as we embark on the next 50 years and beyond.

A Look at the first 50 Years of Premier:

Premier's first direct import purchase was a truckload of Italian wine, Verde red and white. It sold for less than $2.00 and had a resealable top.

Premier's first direct import purchase was a truckload of Italian wine, Verde red and white. It sold for less than $2.00 and had a resealable top.

1969

  • Burt Notarius acquires Premier Liquor.
  • Premier becomes the first store in NYS to discount spirits and advertise them at exact prices.

1971

  • Premier becomes the first local retailer to sell Bordeaux futures.

1972

  • Premier relocates to Delaware & Nash in Kenmore and becomes one of the first wine and spirit superstores in the country. Our grand opening special: 1947 Tondonia at $3.99/bottle. The same vintage was later served at a coronation of the King of Spain when it sold for $500/bottle.

1973

  • Premier is invited to join the Wine & Spirit Guild of America, a prestigious industry council of the most influential liquor stores in the country.
Premier's store at Delaware and Nash

Premier's store at Delaware & Nash in Kenmore.

Future Premier Group store owners Mark & Jon Notarius get their first look at the wine business.

Future Premier Group store owners Mark & Jon Notarius get their first look at the wine business.

1977

  • Premier is commended by the Italian Trade Commission for our selection and presentation of Italian wines.

1982

  • Premier expands as it moves to a new location at Delaware near Sheridan in Kenmore. This location would serve as its home for the next 30 years.

1985

  • Premier becomes the first store in upstate New York to begin posting third-party wine reviews (Wine Spectator, Robert Parker, etc.) on displays.

1988

  • Premier is named a Top 10 Retailer in the country by Liquor Store magazine.

1991

  • Burt Notarius is elected president of the Wine & Spirits Guild.
  • Premier completes its biggest expansion to date with renovations at their location at Delaware near Sheridan. The expansion made Premier Center the largest gourmet center in the United States at the time.

1992

  • Burt Notarius is elected president of the Wine & Spirits Guild.

1993

  • Premier named National Retailer of the Year by Market Watch magazine, from the publishers of Wine Spectator.
A page from the 1991 holiday catalog documents the Premier Center's expansion at Delaware near Sheridan.

A page from the 1991 holiday catalog documents the Premier Center's expansion at Delaware near Sheridan.

Then Wine Associate Jeff Vignaux (now the store manager at Prestige Wine & Spirits in Orchard Park) sampling wine for a customer at the store on Delaware near Sheridan. Premier was awarded the first permit for on-premise sampling and our commitment to offering a variety of ways for customers to taste fine wines continues to this day.

Then Wine Associate Jeff Vignaux (now the store manager at Prestige Wine & Spirits in Orchard Park) sampling wine for a customer at the store on Delaware near Sheridan. Premier was awarded the first permit for on-premise sampling and our commitment to offering a variety of ways for customers to taste fine wines continues to this day.

1994

  • New York state allows wine sampling in stores. Premier responds by setting up a full wine-tasting center complete with a storage system for sampling numerous wines every day.

1995

  • Mark Notarius opens Premium Wine & Spirits on Transit Road. The Premier Group is born.

1998

  • The Premier Group, a pioneer in e-commerce, launches its first website at premiergroup.net, which would soon thereafter become premierwines.com.

1999

  • Premier named National Retailer of the Year by Beverage Dynamics magazine, the nation's largest beverage industry magazine.

2002

  • Jon Notarius opens Prestige Wine & Spirits in Orchard Park, the third Premier Group member store.

2009

  • Premier celebrates it's 40-year anniversary.

2011

  • Premier Group member stores upgrade their e-commerce presence with new websites. Premier Wine & Spirits' e-commerce store moves to WineDeals.com, Prestige Wine & Spirits' e-commerce store moves to WineMadeEasy.com, and Premium Wine & Spirits e-commerce store moves to WineTransit.com. Each site would soon begin offering new conveniences like express local delivery and in-store pickup.
Top: Premium Wine & Spirits opened on Transit Road in 1995. Bottom: Prestige Wine & Spirits opened on Milestrip Road in Orchard Park in 2002.

Top: Premium Wine & Spirits opened on Transit Road in 1995. Bottom: Prestige Wine & Spirits opened on Milestrip Road in Orchard Park in 2002.

The original Premier Group member store, Premier Wine & Spirits, relocated to the new Premier Center on Maple Road in Amherst in 2012.

The original Premier Group member store, Premier Wine & Spirits, relocated to the new Premier Center on Maple Road in Amherst in 2012.

2012

  • Premier Wine & Spirits, the original Premier Group store, relocates to Maple Road in Amherst and becomes the nation's largest store dedicated solely to wine and spirits.

2013

  • Premier Wine & Spirits is named National Retailer of the Year by Beverage Dynamics magazine for the second time.

2014

  • Premier founder and liquor retail innovator Burt Notarius passes away. His fostering of Western New York's world-class wine and spirits community, his contagious personality and energy, and his avid support of countless humanities, arts, cultural, and health institutions around WNY will never be forgotten.

2018

  • The Premier Group App is launched on iOS and Android, allowing customers to purchase wines and spirits with the tap of a thumb from their smart devices.

2019

  • Premier celebrates it's 50-year anniversary.
50 Years of Premier!