Barley Mowat 

What Could Be

with one comment

I posted recently about a chance in the laws south of the border to allow non-liquor specific retailers to start stocking booze. A proposal like this has both its pros and its cons. One of the key questions is whether or not the newly booze-friendly retailers would actually care about stocking a decent product, or simply go for the quick cash model by stocking only the most popular items (“The Coors aisle is over there, sir, by the Molson section”).

There would likely be a bit of both, but a great example to highlight is what Whole Foods has done with their beer section in states where liquor retail in grocers is allowed. I’ve talked about their Portland store before, but very recently my friend Bonnie was down at their flagship store in Austin, and brought me back some pictures (although sadly no beer).

Yes, there is Bud Light.
There is also virtually every craft beer brewed in the US.

Sure, sure, though, I’ve posted pictures of a nice-looking row of beer in a Whole Foods before. What makes this one so special? Well, that was only one of several rows. Plus a giant cold room. Again, this is anything but special for those of us who’ve been to Firefly. What makes this store different, Chuck?

This. This makes it different.

Nope, I’m not messing with you. That is quite literally a bar in a grocery store. Yes, that is a bar where Whole Foods highlights a rotating set of local Texas beers, for cheap. And yes, those things behind the counter are growlers, so you can take your favourite with you and pay at the till with your frozen peas. Look at the beer styles on display: ESB, Oatmeal Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout. These are not the Molsons of the world.

So, while I don’t doubt opening up liquor retail to grocers will result in Safeway stocking lots of shit, we can at least cite one example where the retailer has taken the idea and run with it.

Damn, I want to go grocery shopping in Austin now. Anyone need groceries?

Written by chuck

December 7th, 2011 at 10:38 am

Posted in Beer and You

One Response to 'What Could Be'

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  1. There’s a beer bar in the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle in NYC, too:

    I haven’t been up there yet, but it looks promising. Two awesome things: 1) Tipping is not allowed so you’re essentially getting $1 off those prices and 2) They have portraits of local brewmasters on the walls…!


    28 Dec 11 at 07:45

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