Business profile: Bill Wright

Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2002

Title and company: Owner, Gourmet Alaska

Services: Gourmet Alaska is a retail store in the Nugget Mall specializing in beer-brewing supplies, cookware, kitchen utensils and knives. Wright opened the store with his wife, Lisa, in 1997 and said he has focused on stocking inventory that can't be found at other stores in town.

"We've got gadgets, hot sauces, home-brewing supplies, bar supplies like wine glasses and openers, ramekins," Wright said. His store carries more than 30 kinds of hot sauces and a knife selection that includes Wusthof knives made in Germany.

"The most popular hot sauce is Dave's Insanity," Wright said. "It used to be the hottest hot-sauce out there. ... For a lot of people it's kind of an ego thing, I think."

The store also sells All-Clad cookware and can order most items not carried in the store, Wright said.

"We have 104 different vendors, so we're placing orders all the time," he said.

Biographical information: Wright was born and raised in Juneau and attended Western Washington University in Bellingham. After earning a degree in business administration, he took a job with the state administering the school transportation system. He worked for the state for 12 years.

Wright began brewing beer as a hobby when he received a home-brewing kit as a Christmas gift one year. He discovered that many of the supplies necessary for brewing beer weren't available in Juneau, so he began taking orders from fellow brewers in the area and distributing beer-brewing supplies from his home.

Wright had more than 100 amateur brewers in Southeast Alaska on his mailing list at the height of his garage-based business, which he ran for six years. In 1997, Wright decided to turn his hobby into a business, and opened Gourmet Alaska.

Family: Wright lives in Juneau with his wife, Lisa, who works for State Farm Insurance. His mother, brother and brother's family live in Juneau as well.

Contact information: Gourmet Alaska is in the Nugget Mall. The phone number is 789-0606, and e-mail address is

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