Mar 212012
Authors: Colleen McSweeney

The massive liquor emporium Wilbur’s Total Beverage, located at S. College Ave. right next to Whole Foods, doesn’t exactly scream “locally-owned.”

“It’s kind of like the Wal-Mart of liquor stores,” said senior political science major Coby Linderholm.

But students like Linderholm and the Fort Collins community may be surprised to find out that Wilbur’s is not only locally and family owned, but both the owner and his father graduated from CSU –– and they’re ecstatic to be voted “Favorite Liquor Store” by the 2012 Best of CSU poll.

“We truly appreciate the student and staff support, so much,” said Matt Dinsmore, owner and manager of Wilbur’s Total Liquor.

“We’d like to thank the CSU community. Because we live in this community, we work in this community and we love this community,” Dinsmore said.

Dinsmore graduated from CSU in ‘05 with a degree in marketing, and it wasn’t long before he joined the staff of Wilbur’s –– a business his father had already established and was passionately working to develop into the popular establishment it is today.

Wilbur’s was named after the founder, and Dinsmore’s father’s, good friend of the same name. He’d always hated the name, so much so, he went by “Leigh” instead.

“When we were trying to think of a name, we thought, ‘So, how can we eff with Leigh?’”

Wilbur’s opened up for business 12 years ago on College Ave., and it moved south to its current location in 2004 . It has been growing ever since.

“As the Fort Collins community is getting bigger, our business has been getting so much better,” Dinsmore said. “We’ve really grown tremendously.”

One of the things that sets Wilbur’s apart from the many other liquor stores in Fort Collins is its enormous wine selection –– one that Dinsmore calls one of the “most diverse in the nation.”

During most business days, Wilbur’s has on hand what they call a “Wine Wizard,” or a staff member who has been trained in decades of wine knowledge. The “Wizard,” Dinsmore said, is there to make the selection less daunting to customers, and to open up the community to a world of wine expertise.

Despite its seemingly endless variety of alcoholic selections, Wilburs makes sure to stock locally-owned and operated brands. And its Fort Collins customers take notice.

“It’s awesome. It’s huge,” said physics graduate student Tim Walton. “But it’s also great that it has so many microbrews and local options.”

Editorial Editor Colleen McSweeney can be reached at

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