Craft Beer at Gas Stations: Do you want this?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by ohiobeer29, Jul 16, 2013.


Would you be excited if your local gas station carried craft beer?

  1. yes

    477 vote(s)
  2. no

    75 vote(s)
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  1. crazyfoMostout

    crazyfoMostout Initiate (0) May 16, 2013 Missouri

    What do you know about Flat Branch OCS? Most people outside of COMO have never even heard of it since they don't have any bottling or canning ops. Solid beer though, probably the first stout I actually liked. Flat Branch was my gateway into craft(10+yrs).
  2. VictorWisc

    VictorWisc Devotee (463) Jan 2, 2013 Massachusetts

    This should be the crux of the debate. There are several reasons to have reservations about gas-station beer sales:

    1) Turnover--the point of gas station "supplies" is high volume. They get limited selection of stuff that people buy and turn it over quickly. Anything on the periphery will languish on the shelves forever. So I'd be worried about shelf-life.
    2) Storage (overstock)--I've been to gas stations that push high volumes of soft drinks (with better prices than supermarkets) and BMC cases. The trouble is, high volume means that they have to be stored somewhere. And this somewhere often is on the pallets outside the store, sometimes covered, but still in full sun. Sometimes the cases are just stacked between the pumps. If they did that to craft cases, people would start ripping what's left of their hair out.
    3) Storage (shelf space)--Aside from overstock, shelf space is also at a premium. Most mini-stores attached to gas stations are small. The largest a the size of a 7-Eleven, but those are usually full convenience stores. You get much larger ones at truck stops, but then you're also competing with spare parts and fuzzy dice (there is a couple of great examples of that on the IL/WI border). The bottom line is, with only a couple of full cooler doors, those are going to be filled with soft drinks, Gatorade and BMC. There's not going to be room for craft. So we're back to the cold/warm storage argument. The best stores with large beer sections would just have a large walk-in cooler and leave all their beer there, but that hardly seems realistic.
    4) Convenience--Aside from the question of whose convenience we're talking about, this goes back to the high-volume, high-turnover sales. What is it that most people come there for? I'm all for specialization and it does seem to be a good way to boost the profit margin, especially when gas prices are high to the point of regulated markup. So it's a great idea to have a place you can pop into, grab a few bottles and be on the way--if you're there to buy gas, chances are you're not going to linger over the selection. But if this becomes a point of pilgrimage for hop-heads, then it begins to interfere with the basic operations. If the owner is OK with that, he should be able to lay out the space efficiently. If not, we're back to (1).
  3. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,124) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    This thread shows one more reason why the PNW truly is Beervana. Not only is there good craft selection everywhere, because we drink so much craft as a whole, turn over isn't even an issue. Plus, I know a couple where there's still a few bottles B-Bomb floating around.
    DrDaves49 and VictorWisc like this.
  4. HighWine

    HighWine Initiate (146) Dec 11, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Actually I don't know much about it and am not sure I've even had if. I have just been drinking beer a long time and travel a lot so the name came to mind when I saw the title of the thread. After reading your comments I'm going to have to find some to try!
  5. crazyfoMostout

    crazyfoMostout Initiate (0) May 16, 2013 Missouri

    Sadly my friend, you'll have to make a trip to Columbia to try it. They don't distribute, but they do have growlers available. Go hungry and thirsty though, the food there is excellent and they usually have at least 15 or more in house brews on tap. I think they brew over 50 different beers if you count their seasonal offerings and special releases.
    HighWine likes this.
  6. Mohican88

    Mohican88 Aspirant (200) Jan 20, 2010 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I was in Columbia a couple years ago while my girlfriend interviewed for grad school there. We stopped at Flat Branch our first afternoon there, and were not disappointed. The food was great, and we ordered a flight of which the OCS was my favorite. Their chili beer was pretty enjoyable as well, their Cave Dweller Barleywine was fantastic. I may never be there again, but if I'm in Columbia I know where to go.
  7. Buzzardsuds

    Buzzardsuds Initiate (0) May 27, 2013 Ohio

    There's a Sunoco right down from my office that sells craft! It's weird to see Hoptimum and Nugget Nectar at a gas station! Everything's basically a buck more than the beverage or grocery store! I guess that's the convenience fee!
  8. chiefojibwa

    chiefojibwa Initiate (0) May 19, 2009 Washington

    already have it.
  9. More_Cowbell

    More_Cowbell Initiate (0) Jul 19, 2013 Washington

    Here in Washington we can buy craft beer at gas stations but they don't always have the greatest selection. Although there are apparently some gas stations here and in OR which have taps for growler fills.
  10. ohiobeer29

    ohiobeer29 Defender (680) Feb 2, 2013 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    only thing i can see being an issue is space
  11. Ernest_Hooper

    Ernest_Hooper Initiate (0) Apr 23, 2012 Michigan

    That's how my local gas station/bottle shop does it. Large walk-in cooler with shelves full of craft six packs and bombers. It's really not too shabby at all.

    Currently drinking some Old Chub from said gas station.
    VictorWisc likes this.
  12. OregonGrown7

    OregonGrown7 Zealot (569) Nov 2, 2012 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    I'm always excited to walk into a gas station and find a whole cooler full of a variety of bombers. Definitely a good thing!
  13. MetalMountainMastiff

    MetalMountainMastiff Initiate (0) Oct 1, 2012 California
    Beer Trader

    My local gas station carries Most lagunitas besides undercover and sucks when its out and most knee deep...good enough for me for being 1 mile to the cities being 40 mins away.
  14. 510a

    510a Disciple (397) Jan 12, 2013 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Ok, Shell gas station in Lake Stevens , WA Norm's Market by name.

    52 taps for growler fills, 300+ bombers,and easily the largest mix a six cooler I have ever seen, oh and they sell kegs too! Beervana and they keep getting bigger, brewers tastings on the horizon. Also 50% off old beer, which really isnt old, they just need to make space for new offerings. I have picked up La fin, collage, tilquin, Pepe Nero, and saison Dupont in the last month or so for less than 5$ ea.
    Spikester, Hop_juice and VictorWisc like this.
  15. mverity

    mverity Defender (669) Oct 6, 2012 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Here in Tallahassee, FL I see SweetWater, Blue Point, occasional Terrapin, Great Divide, occasional Sam Adams, OBP and OBP Squared, Lazy Magnolia, and a few others. Nothing too amazing, but it's nice when heading to the golf course or party hopping or swinging in for a quick pick lotto. It's nice to have something good to scoop up without having to swing by my local beer shop. Wait, I just remembered seeing Sam Smith's at a local gas station recently.
  16. dougfur

    dougfur Initiate (0) Jan 24, 2011 New York

    One of the best selections in my area is actually at a gas station.
  17. Derranged

    Derranged Devotee (484) Mar 7, 2010 New York

    In New York they have craft beer but usually nothing too fancy and the prices are too high.
  18. Ilovelampandbeer

    Ilovelampandbeer Zealot (552) Aug 25, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    i refuse to buy beer at a gas station. one time i asked to use the bathroom, the clerk said yea it was in the back...i go back there and there was so much overstock of products that there were beer cases in the bathroom, with open cases literally a foot from the toilet. nothing like a little salty piss on ur beer can. most of the beer cases were BMC so im sure their consumers wouldnt notice but still! lol distributors only for me
    Harryrass and skyler_estes_ like this.
  19. ThatFatBeerGuy

    ThatFatBeerGuy Initiate (0) Oct 11, 2013 California

    I bought a 6-pack of Ninkasi (don't remember which one) from a gas station while on vacation. I'm pouring it into a glass anyway, so the ambient atmosphere the bottle sits in before I purchase it doesn't concern me too much as long as the beer hasn't outlasted its shelf life.
  20. charlzm

    charlzm Poo-Bah (2,215) Sep 3, 2007 California
    Beer Trader

    I got a bomber of Sculpin for $4.99 at a gas station last year. That was a steal!!!
    LibrariansLoveBEER likes this.
  21. jcb7472

    jcb7472 Zealot (557) Jul 13, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I was visiting California for work back in August (Santa Clara) and went inside a gas station to buy some gum. I ended up buying a bottle of The Lost Abbey Inferno for $8.99. I was stoked!
    Spikester likes this.
  22. Botulizard

    Botulizard Zealot (507) Jul 22, 2013 Michigan

    No! Couldn't have our secret craft beer accessible to the hoi polloi!

  23. nophunk

    nophunk Aspirant (280) Nov 27, 2011 Louisiana
    Beer Trader

    I was staying with a friend at a Holistic healing institute in upstate NY. The closest "store" was a gas station about 10 minutes away. I know we bought DFH 90 minute and some other pretty good beers. I fully support the idea when it's executed well.
  24. RockAZ

    RockAZ Disciple (371) Jan 6, 2009 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    Yep, one stop shopping. Also, pick up the bail bondsman's or taxi service business cards by the register on your way out.
  25. carolinabeerguy

    carolinabeerguy Savant (931) Oct 10, 2005 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I like it, but most around here don't do enough craft beer volume so there's always old product just sitting there. Last weekend I saw Jai Alai that was canned in April sitting on shelves at a 7-11.
  26. tdmccarthy

    tdmccarthy Devotee (456) May 6, 2010 Illinois

    I went to a gas station in Cincinnati on Saturday. It was a normal looking little gas station with a snack shop, but my brother said they had a great beer selection. I was skeptical, but right by the counter they had a bunch of Enjoy By that was bottled last week, plus a couple bottles of Mango Magnifico, several Revolution bombers, and Bear Republic Cafe Racer 15. They also had a full walk in cooler with stuff from West Sixth, Green Flash, Troegs, Great Lakes and several other great breweries. I'd love to have a place like that by my house. The prices were pretty good too.
    Spikester and LibrariansLoveBEER like this.
  27. SShelly

    SShelly Initiate (0) Sep 20, 2008 Oregon

    hwy395 likes this.
  28. Beef_Curtains

    Beef_Curtains Devotee (453) Oct 14, 2013 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    The Sheetz station down the street from me usually has a small selection including Great Lakes, Sierra Nevada, and Red Hook.
  29. mrcraft

    mrcraft Poo-Bah (1,754) Dec 15, 2012 California
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Sure. I'll be all for it. I hear near Paso Robles, gas stations sells Parabola and other FW Reserve beers. I haven't seen anything like that in LA.
    Spikester likes this.
  30. hnandez

    hnandez Initiate (141) Jun 5, 2013 California

    I have a gas station on my way home from work that has a small craft selection. They sell bombers of Sculpin for $6.50 and Ruination for $5.99. I usually go there instead of the cheaper store just across the street because I can grab a beer.
    LibrariansLoveBEER likes this.
  31. Kanger

    Kanger Zealot (576) Sep 3, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    Craft beer anywhere is good imo.

    Even though there are plenty craft beer stores and beer bars in NYC, a lot of smaller delis carry craft beers.

    I live in Bedstuy right near the Marcy Projects and the Tompkins Houses. Even the bodega across from the projects has craft beer.
    Ilovelampandbeer likes this.
  32. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (521) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Yes, replace wine at church with IPA and maybe you'll see me there again.
  33. Ilovelampandbeer

    Ilovelampandbeer Zealot (552) Aug 25, 2013 New York
    Beer Trader

    i can vouch for that....ive seen sculpin in east new york bodegas
  34. ao125

    ao125 Initiate (0) Dec 1, 2010 Virginia

    I actually stopped in at a gas station yesterday that filled growlers. They had a terrible selection.
    The address is 240 Rolkin Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22911 - It was a Liberty gas, but I think it's an Exxon now?

    Either way - they had 312 and Fat Tire on (as well as a few things I cared equally as little about). I liked the concept, but chances are good that a gas station isn't going to have the buying power to get really good kegs of things.

    They had a counter-flow filler too, so it's not like the clerk had to do anything, really. About as complicated as one of those express dudes working a Blimpie sub counter or a mini Starbux express cafe.
  35. BrettHead

    BrettHead Devotee (479) Sep 18, 2010 Nebraska

    Already have beer in gas stations..I thought this was America.
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  36. misterid

    misterid Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2009 Wisconsin

  37. Erix

    Erix Initiate (135) Jun 4, 2001 Vermont

    Since I recently walked to the gas station to pick up some Heady Topper, yes, I have to say I support this.
    Spikester and Ilovelampandbeer like this.
  38. bpasquini

    bpasquini Initiate (0) Feb 26, 2013 California

    There's a 24 hr gas station not too far from my house that carries a decent selection of craft, I go there all the time, another one down the street that carries a decent amount of craft as well, no problem with it being a gas station, it's a store as well so why can't they carry craft and why would it be any different than going to a liquor store? There are never any waits or special release events with any beer sold here, and if there was I don't think anything would change, so what if your at a gas station, you're still getting the beer that you want aren't you?
    Spikester likes this.
  39. rgordon

    rgordon Crusader (790) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I know of some gas stations that have nice selections and actually sell through them freshly. The problem arises when a proprietor buys unwisely and sits on part of his inventory until it solidifies. It would behoove a gas station in a nice area of town to have a varied selection.
  40. Dusty6467

    Dusty6467 Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2012 Texas

    Down here all the major gas stations carry the "crafty" beer crap made/outsourced by AB or MillerCoors. I just picked up a Blue Moon Mountain Abbey Ale for $9 a 6er since it was the only decent looking beer and it tasted like coors light with a shot of vodka in it...
    We need good quality craft beer in every gas station and sellable location in the US.
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