How often do you purchase packaged beer at retailers?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by JackHorzempa, Nov 8, 2019.

?

How often do you purchase packaged beer at retailers?

  1. Never

    1.0%
  2. Not often

    12.6%
  3. About 50% of the time

    10.5%
  4. Mostly

    53.1%
  5. All of the time

    22.8%
  1. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Jim, the beers at my small, local breweries are indeed packaged as 4/6-packs. I have never thought to ask if they would sell me a single can, have you? Maybe what is needed here is more customers asking for this? Are there any PA regulations that would not permit single can sales?

    Cheers!
     
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  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    That is a good question. Before I address it I should point out that the craft beer scene in my area seems to be different in that the small, local breweries offer their beers in cans for takeout - 4/6-packs of cans.

    For the purposes of this thread I would suggest that we view growler beers purchased at craft breweries as packaged beer since the intention is for at home consumption just like bottles or cans of beer.

    I rarely purchase growlers but sometime this weekend I will be visiting the Sly Fox brewpub (Phoenixville, PA) to fill up a growler with a Keller Pils that have available. I also like the fact that Sly Fox has a growler filling station that performs a double evacuation with CO2 prior to the fill and performs a counterpressure fill, basically just like a brewery's bottling line.

    “Sly Fox Bay 6 Pils

    Keller Pilsner

    11.8 OG45 IBUs5.1% ABV

    This unfiltered pilsner was brewed in collaboration with our friends at Philly’s Brü Craft & Wurst. German Saphir and Czech Saaz hops impart a floral aroma with hints of orange blossom on top of a biscuity malt backbone.”

    Cheers!
     
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  3. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,555) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Trader

    I have noticed several of the more reputable "boutique" style craft bottle shops have been greatly consolidating the variety of beers offered and noticing alot more vacant shelf space now vs. a year or so ago. Probably just over-estimated the true demand for high-end craft beer during the boom years, and now the inventory is becoming more based on sales/reality with trend data? Not sure. One thing is alot of the consolidation I'm seeing is in the reduction of imports on the shelves. Hopefully there will be a contraction of the plethora of high priced NEIPA 4 packs lined up in stores.
     
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  4. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,924) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    I have asked, and no-go, but that's at least partially just because the computer/register system is not set up for it - a bartender can't by-pass the system.

    There are no PA regulations that I am aware of but you might be on to something... @jesskidden probably has an answer. Regardless, I'm pretty sure that a mixed 4 or 6-pack would meet the criteria but I can see how that could start to get a little bit messy as busy bartenders don't want to deal with that.
     
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  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    That is indeed a consideration but some of the small, local breweries near me (e.g., Workhorse) has a dedicated location for purchasing stuff (T-shirts, 4-packs, etc.) so they should be able to sell single cans from a human resource perspective. Maybe they just choose to not sell singles to maximize per unit revenue?

    Cheers!
     
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  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    There are a number of Wegmans supermarkets in SEPA that sell beer and over the past month+ there has been a lot of changes (e.g., relocating the area where the beers are located, etc.). I still have not figured out exactly what is happening here but this change has caused a bit of angst for BAs (e.g., @ESHBG).

    Cheers!
     
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  7. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,924) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    Another note, that I should have included earlier. I used to buy growlers but I rarely do anymore. Originally there were problems with breweries being unwilling to fill someone else's glass (Iron Hill for example), and then there's just the hassle of it. I used to drive around with 16 growlers in my trunk - no more. If they don't have crowlers I'm not buying unless I've planned ahead and am sure they'll fill the glass I have.
     
  8. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,924) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    So does Yards and Roy Pitz Barrel House. I wonder if those footprints will pay off though. Roy Pitz has always seemed slow, but when I've been at Yards there was a line to buy stuff. Of course Yards has more merchandise on offer, and they're much better known.
     
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  9. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,924) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Trader

    As to the Wegmans/Giant/Weis/ShopRite and basically all of the other PA grocery stores - yes, there must be something going on that we don't know about because they're all toning down all at once. That just means more money for the other more expensive beer shops, and less money left in my pocket.
     
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I asked one young fellow at my local Wegmans if they were decreasing the number of beer brands they will be carrying? He thought for a moment and replied: "We dropped some brands but we added others so the overall number of brands will be the same". Needless to say but there really is no way for me to accurately validate this claim.

    Cheers!
     
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  11. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (395) Feb 9, 2019 New York
    Society

    Our Wegman's has slightly expanded the beer area by moving seasonals to their own location and better utilizing the end caps. I don't believe they added more brands, but they do have more offerings from the better selling breweries.
    Of course it helps that grocery stores can't sell wine in NY, there have been times I've picked up a 6 pack just because I didn't feel like stopping at a liquor store.

    The Giant Eagle my son shops at started off with a lot of different beers, but has now reduced the number of beers in their “cafe” to just a few big sellers while increasing the number of wines. That where the money seems to be for grocery stores with limited space.
     
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  12. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,927) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    My debit card says too damn often.

    Otherwise, I drink a lot of draught beer at Old Chicago, Frontier Brewing and Taproom, Skull Tree Brewing, Wyoming Ale Works.
     
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  13. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,534) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    Since it has now been at least 5 years since I home brewed (I keep telling myself that I'll start again someday), so most of my beer purchases are from stores. I frequently drink at breweries, restaurants or bars too, but most is bottles or cans at home.
     
  14. Zorro

    Zorro Poo-Bah (4,517) Dec 25, 2003 California

    California makes it easy. They are trying to compete with the likes of BevMo. They don't get the rare stuff but stuff like Lagunitas they certainly do.
     
  15. RobH

    RobH Defender (634) Sep 23, 2006 Maryland
    Society

    Hi Jack. numbers are up this year, although a big factor in that is hard seltzer sales, which are classified in the beer category for sales purposes at TWM.
     
  16. colby600

    colby600 Zealot (545) Mar 24, 2015 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    With Tree House only a 10 minute detour on my way home from work (hops), having a couple brewery memberships (wilds & stouts) and a bit of trading, I seldom visit a store. I voted not often but could almost be never.
     
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  17. tinoynk

    tinoynk Initiate (93) Sep 25, 2010 New York
    Trader

    The vast majority of my to-go beer purchases are done at a brewery. I'm still very much on that NEIPA kick, and here in NYC the markup for decent stuff in the style is ridiculous at retail. There are some solid deals to be had, but a lot of the rotational NEIPA from local/local-ish places comes out to $7-$8/can, sometimes even before tax, making the $18-$20 4 pack price at the breweries seem downright reasonable.
     
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  18. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,927) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    And a lot of Growlers, Howlers and Prowlers that I get from Liquor Shed.
     
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  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Rob, it will be interesting to see how long this fad lasts. Maybe longer than Zima?

    Cheers!
     
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  20. Beer_Stan

    Beer_Stan Initiate (128) Mar 15, 2014 California
    Trader

    As someone who works the job I have, as sales manager I travel to breweries often for business as well as personal and I never leave empty handed if it's good and do well to return. As Southern California is in the midst of a craft beer renaissance so to speak. But, I always shop from my own store and as well make sure to support the other independent stores in my area and support their success.
     
  21. Amendm

    Amendm Defender (628) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island
    Society

    I picked *MOSTLY, wish I could say *Not Often.

    Buying directly from the brewery is the way to go for freshness as I don't brew, however the convenience of the large bottle shops and smaller retailers can't be ignored.

    A big Salute in advance to the 1st member who can honestly say *Never.
     
  22. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Savant (936) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    Well stated. The brewers at 2 local breweries have told me that negative feedback from drinkers is much more useful than positive feedback.
     
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  23. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Initiate (188) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts
    Trader

    Tree House sells by the can which is nice except when they only let you buy 2 cans of something like King Julius. Trillium sells by the 4 pack but will also sell singles. I imagine other breweries in my area would do that same.
     
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  24. kitekid

    kitekid Disciple (387) Mar 3, 2017 California
    Society

    I'm fortunate to have a half dozen small breweries within 10 miles of home and a couple 3 really good taprooms but I still buy most of my beer from the grocery store I frequent (I can't drive, so transportation is an issue).
     
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  25. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,927) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Indeed. Negative feedback with a reason for the negative feedback is always very useful.
     
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  26. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (741) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Over 90% from beer distributors
    The next 6ish% is from out of state retailers
    The next 1% is at a bar/food place
    The last 1% is from a brewery. I do go to a certain place that brews and makes pizza, I’m good for 3-4 pints a month and 1-2 growlers a year from them.

    Cost is so much less from the distributor I go to than any other place.

    Enjoy
     
  27. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (741) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    The last time I was at Troegs you could buy a single bottle.

    Enjoy
     
  28. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,534) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    Is 'distributor' Pennsylvania lingo for retailer? I know you guys in PA have strange laws but your use of that word in that context just seems foreign to me.
     
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  29. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (741) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Beer distributor is where back in the day you could buy beer only by the case in PA. Today you can buy a single and up there as well as many other places. Distributors are still for me the cheapest place to buy beer. A grocery store might have a six pack for $11 but at a distributor I can probably get the case for $36

    Enjoy
     
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  30. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    When I post on BA I use the verbiage of Retail Beer Distributor but in PA we just call it a Beer Distributor. They are typically big warehouse like buildings with beer stacked on floors or sometimes on crude wooden shelving. If you could envision a sort of Liquor Store but solely selling beer. As was discussed by @Giantspace above not too long ago they solely sold beer by the case (i.e., 24 bottles or cans) but over the last 5-ish years things have been liberalized by the PLCB (Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board) so now we can purchase beer by the 6-pack or even individual bottles/cans (depending on the business).

    Cheers!
     
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  31. GuyFawkes

    GuyFawkes Poo-Bah (4,236) Apr 7, 2011 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Breweries tend to NOT sell you singles. It's 4 or 6 pack or nothing.

    So I shop at local shops that let me buy singles. I can buy adventurously, not concerned about getting stuck with 3-5 beers I don't want if it's not something I liked.
     
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  32. ovaltine

    ovaltine Poo-Bah (2,818) Apr 6, 2010 Indiana
    Society Trader

    I’m probably 70% retailer, 30% brewery.

    Five years ago, that was probably 90/10, and 10 years ago, it was probably 99.9/0.1.

    Drink Local/Drink Fresh is very real.
     
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  33. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Aspirant (228) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    Visiting local breweries isn't exactly convenient for me, and it tends to be quite expensive. Too much for me to usually justify at least. So, I'd say very seldomly do I start from buying packaged beer at stores
     
  34. Crizzo

    Crizzo Initiate (4) Oct 7, 2019


    I'm working hard to make my grocery store better than our 2 local "beer shops". Right now I've got the biggest selection in town (a 60 foot aisle) and have only had craft beer since September 23rd with new beer being added weekly so I hope people continue to buy at the retail level.
     
  35. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,832) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    60/40 retail to brewery direct.
     
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  36. nomisugitai

    nomisugitai Initiate (102) Mar 11, 2006 New Jersey

    90% of purchases are from retail outlets. 99+% by volume. I will get a growler or a 4 pack at a brewery. I will get 2 cases, and a few singles or four packs at a liquor store. I don't feel comfortable living off of $96 cases from breweries.
     
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  37. johnnybgood1999

    johnnybgood1999 Disciple (345) Oct 31, 2008 Virginia

    Voted mostly. Stores carry a bigger variety and are a convenient stop. I have 3 breweries close to me and none are convenient to my house. I have multiple grocery stores and one craft store that are convenient and close. I also have styles I favor and am picky about those styles. The breweries available may not even have those styles in stock. The local breweries make good beer and I've buy from them occasionally. That said, they also do not have near the variety of a store. So between convenience and variety I go to stores.
     
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  38. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,534) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    What city/state is your store? Maybe some other local BA members can help you start moving that beer past the cash registers and out the door.
     
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  39. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (547) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Trader

    So about 80% "Mostly" or "All of the time" at this point via retailer and this is a beer "geek" crowd. Prob 98% retailer for me.


    I suspect that age would reflect similarly in this poll with a large percentage of the Mostly or All of the Time being > 50 years old. Other than to get a pint Mecktoberfest on release day and grabbing a sixer, I cannot remember the last time I bought beer to take home at a brewery.

    As a member of that 50+ crowd I still enjoy a visit to a brewery from time to time but really don't think of going for much more than a social visit with a group and not for the purpose of getting cans/growlers. I don't see a lot of us geezers hauling it out.

    Plus my favorite retail spot has a great tap list!!!!!!!
     
    #79 surfcaster, Nov 9, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
  40. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (855) Jan 22, 2011 New York
    Trader

    Possibly anecdotal - but @frozyn, @RobNewton and I know a guy called @jrnyc who frequently dodders over to Other Half on his walker. Guy must be in his 80’s but lives for the haze. Locally he’s called hazegramps