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

  2. Not often

  3. About 50% of the time

  4. Mostly

  5. All of the time

  1. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (547) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina

    Probably doctors orders. You know sitting is the new smoking. :grin:
  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,253) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    That is an interesting point and I suppose could have ramifications for how beer will be purchased going forward?

  3. DoctorZombies

    DoctorZombies Poo-Bah (3,144) Feb 1, 2015 Florida
    Society Trader

    I buy beer at lots of different outlets; and I buy beer at the grocery store weekly - here’s one of the reasons: the local gas station sometimes has 2 - 3 week old Jai Alai, the grocery store usually has 4 weeks plus or minus, and the CCB brewery in Tampa just 4 days ago had nothing but 6 and 12 pks dated from August :slight_frown:

    In sum, there’s multiple ways to buy good beer in Florida if you shop around...I need to make a beer run!
  4. colby600

    colby600 Zealot (544) Mar 24, 2015 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I may be an outlier, but I'm 50 and quite content with brewery only purchases and see no change in the future. I believe location would be a larger factor than age. I'll drive 30 minutes vs 15 for much better / fresher beer.
  5. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,357) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    I’m wondering if the responses would feel a bit different if this thread was in a very active regional forum instead.
    Barettes, FBarber, GuyFawkes and 3 others like this.
  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,253) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Chris, you could start in a poll in your preferred regional forum(s) and find out.

    Bitterbill likes this.
  7. jrnyc

    jrnyc Meyvn (1,116) Mar 21, 2010 New York

    Ironic thing is at this point in time I am far more mobile than you. I hit Other Half, Peter Pan and Grimm today, didn’t even need a walker. Were you able to crawl off the couch to piss out the pastry stout you domed last night :stuck_out_tongue: ?!

    PS. 98% of the beer I buy is purchased directly from the brewery.
  8. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,660) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah- location, as well as shopping patterns, are very likely also big factors.
    FBarber likes this.
  9. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Zealot (509) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    With Veil Norfolk opening today and Benchtop, if there are consistent can releases, I think I may shift from retailers like TW to brewery only. Other breweries like O Connor and Smartmouth and now Rip Raps canning can fill the gap.
  10. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,253) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    There have been a number of posts with observations concerning demographics:

    Age of the craft beer consumer

    It has been mentioned that likely younger beer consumers may be purchasing more of their craft beer directly from breweries while older beer consumers may be purchasing their craft beer In the more ‘traditional’ manner via beer retailers. FWIW this assertion seems to make sense to me. I suppose I think this way since I am not young and I personally purchase most of my packaged beer from my local beer retailers.

    Location - urban vs. suburban vs. rural

    From a number of posts it appears that urban craft beer consumers are more likely to purchase packaged craft beer from breweries vs. those that live in less densely populated areas. This makes sense to me since in a densely populated area you are more likely to have a number of small breweries conveniently located to you while in a rural area the only convenient choice may be beer retailers such as supermarkets, gas stations, etc.

    Location – specific region

    It has been suggested that perhaps certain regions could impact how beer consumers purchase craft beer. Maybe folks in the Mid-Atlantic or New England would purchase more of their craft beers directly from breweries as compared to other regions (e.g., the South)?

    There are likely other demographics worthy of consideration beyond the above.

    Perhaps Bart Watson, an economist working for the Brewers Association, is tracking these aspects?

    officerbill, meefmoff and surfcaster like this.
  11. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Champion (810) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    I rarely buy beer other than at local stores - there are a plethora of grocery stores close by with huge beer sections, and a few bottle shops I frequent as well....even though there are also lots of breweries close to me - I rarely buy beer from them......the exception would be the occasional case purchase from Thirsty Dog - when they have un-sold seasonal product marked down to like $15 a case, post season.
  12. OffTrail

    OffTrail Initiate (78) Aug 12, 2012 Washington

    I like to drink a variety of styles, and don't like close to a brewery that can provide that. So I shop once a month at Total Wine.

    One side comment. I moved out to Washington state from Boston five years ago. I found that the beer available from retailers here tends to be far fresher than the beer available in package stores in Boston. It was a pet peeve of mine that it was hard to find an IPA less than two months old there. That was not my only reason for moving out here, though.
  13. jkrich

    jkrich Meyvn (1,221) Nov 1, 2001 Florida

    Nearly all of my purchases come from retailers as there are very few breweries in my immediate area. It seems I am always searching out the next seasonal or new beer I discover on only to be disappointed to find out it is not available at the local beer store. I envy those of you who can purchase most of your beer directly from the brewery.
    officerbill and JediMasterLenin like this.
  14. dukeandduke

    dukeandduke Meyvn (1,241) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois
    Society Trader

    I live in Chicago, dozens of good to great breweries within walking, biking or public transportation (I don't have a car, rent when I need one). I am out of town typically hit breweries or bars when I travel, there are three primary stores I go to locally. It's been some time since I last bought beer at a grocery store.

    My spend is as follows:

    Breweries (Draft): 50%
    Breweries (To Go): 15%
    Bars and Beer Stores (Draft): 20%
    Beer Store (To Go): 15%

    Not sure if this helps with the OP assessment.
    GuyFawkes and JediMasterLenin like this.
  15. laketang

    laketang Meyvn (1,173) Mar 22, 2015 Illinois

    98% local retailer (binnys). I can get fresh stuff from the likes of pipeworks, half acre, phase three, hop butcher and three floyds. And also old nation stuff and central waters. I go to a local brewery now but just drink on tap there, their lager is outstanding imo. I voted mostly retailer.
  16. iwantyourskull

    iwantyourskull Initiate (53) Dec 27, 2015 Missouri

    c'mon alma mader! can premiant.
    Harrison8 likes this.
  17. iwantyourskull

    iwantyourskull Initiate (53) Dec 27, 2015 Missouri

    90% in-store purchases because miller high life
  18. BruChef

    BruChef Aspirant (210) Nov 8, 2009 New York

    If all I drank were murky IPAs, diabetic pastry stouts and fruited lactose pastry sour beers (which often contain cream cheese) resembling Bolthouse Farms or Naked fruit juice smoothies, all of my beer purchasing would be local. That being said, pretty much none of my beer purchasing is local.
    #98 BruChef, Nov 10, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  19. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,357) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    The above could be referencing posts made by multiple people, but just to clarify my post (which wasn’t clear) - I was thinking more along the lines of the type of consumer who spends most of their time in “Beer Talk” vs the type who spends most of their’s in a regional forum. There must be some degree of correlation to that and their shopping habits. And BTW - that isn’t a criticism of your poll.
  20. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (853) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    I didn’t think that was what you meant on the first read - but yeah that’s a great point. There’s probably more of an old school bent in the main forums. Plus the geographical angle (which was how I read your post first time) definitely has some validity too obviously.
    meefmoff, zid and FBarber like this.
  21. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,357) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    And there are people who only post in their regional forums - which have become more local-brewery focused as opposed to conversations about retail shops.
    FBarber and rozzom like this.
  22. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (853) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    yeah sorry left that but unsaid but totally get where you’re coming from. especially with all these dedicated brewery threads that make up most of the regional thread action these days, where probably 90% of these breweries are either wholly DTC or at least mostly
    meefmoff and zid like this.
  23. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,660) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Ranbot and officerbill like this.
  24. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,746) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    If they canned Pillar, I'd buy it!

    I loved that one so much I'd consider getting a keg of it.
  25. pat61

    pat61 Poo-Bah (5,679) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota

    In Minnesota beer is sold via liquor stores and they now allow breweries to sell beer. I usually go to my neighbor liquor store to buy beer but if I am at a brewery I will also load up.
  26. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,098) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    I personally purchase almost entirely from retailers, mostly only buy direct from breweries if I am visiting ones while out of the area.

    I think the divide between brewery only purchases and retail purchases comes down largely to the combination of your location and your style preferences. If you live in a high quality brewery dense area you are likely to buy a lot of beers directly from breweries, especially if you favor the popular limited release styles of the day. If you don't live in an area with a density of breweries OR you prefer more traditional styles I think you're much more likely to go to retailers often.
  27. Riff

    Riff Champion (845) May 12, 2016 Virginia

    I would say it's a 90/10 split for me, 90 at a store and 10 at a brewery. I just usually don't have the time to make an extra stop to purchase beer at the brewery so I usually only purchase at the brewery when I'm visiting for a meal (most of my fav breweries have restaurants attached) or there is a special release I want.
    dukeandduke likes this.
  28. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (426) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    Yeah, hidden in the thread question is the slightly different question of "How often do you buy beer that is brewery only?".

    There are a lot of breweries within about 10 miles of my house, but all except a couple send their beers to retail outlets too. With how annoying it is to drive in the Boston area it's nearly always easier to just go to a more conveniently located retailer and buy the same beer.

    Idle Hands is one of my favorite breweries and is only 3.6 miles from my house, but it's a deeply annoying 3.6 miles. If they didn't distribute I would brave that ride now and again, but since they do there's no reason to go there unless I actually want the taproom experience.

    I might guess that anyone in the Boston area who buys a lot of their beer direct from breweries is likely a big Trillium fan, since they're the only really popular brewery that doesn't send anything to retail.
    GuyFawkes, Ranbot, OffTrail and 4 others like this.
  29. HouseofWortship

    HouseofWortship Crusader (709) May 3, 2016 Illinois

    Too many breweries. The drink local mantra would start to backfire as I would stick to my closest brewery all the time if the smaller area brewers didn't put their niche products into the local craft beer stores. The brewery that tends to get the most of my $$$ is one that doesn't have a physical presence so the only place to get their beer is at stores.
    JediMasterLenin likes this.
  30. Sheppard

    Sheppard Meyvn (1,085) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    When I lived in Boston, my purchases started to shift from off premise to breweries. Once I moved to the DMV, I've had less time to travel to breweries and I have a great LBS near me, so my purchases have shifted drastically back in the other direction. It's funny how that's worked.
    JediMasterLenin likes this.
  31. StoutElk_92

    StoutElk_92 Poo-Bah (2,280) Oct 30, 2015 Massachusetts

    For me it used to be almost always, but now with more limited options and a further distance away, on top of having some really good local breweries, and one in particular I’d rather drink than just about anything in stores, for me now it is mostly from a brewery, with an occasional trip to the store to buy an interesting beer. A few stores I used to like closed down, and now it seems like everywhere I go is just ghetto bodega convenient liquor stores selling beer, or some lousy chain shop, unless I travel out of my way which seems a bit unnecessary given the above reasons. Nowadays I frequent trillium and hardly ever go into a store to buy beer. I don’t think it’s the downfall of craft beer, I think we are just filled with choices and too many stores are just in it for the money and don’t have the greatest selections with their limited space.
    JediMasterLenin likes this.
  32. RVAcraft

    RVAcraft Initiate (60) Aug 6, 2014 Virginia

    We have an embarrassment of local riches in Richmond, Va between the Answer, Triple Crossing, Final Gravity, Vassen, if you're desperate and have no idea there are other breweries in town, the Veil. All that to say. We're getting fresh Bissel, Drekkar, Equilibrium, etc., so I'm definitely hitting up shops more than I used to. What a time to be alive! My local spot still has Dinner on so I'm out.
    JediMasterLenin likes this.
  33. RVAcraft

    RVAcraft Initiate (60) Aug 6, 2014 Virginia

    It's a good beer life when Sump,Abraxas, etc. collect dust on shelves here in Richmond. Nobody even knows CBS has been here for a few days. But we sell no Goose, so no variants come here even though they'd be gone in an hour.
  34. RVAcraft

    RVAcraft Initiate (60) Aug 6, 2014 Virginia

    Our Whole Foods has 40 taps. Sometimes you just want some Bissell.
  35. RVAcraft

    RVAcraft Initiate (60) Aug 6, 2014 Virginia

    Single guy here. I've banged 4 girls in 4 months just because they were buying seltzer and we struck up a conversation. Stereotypes are still truth in beer.
  36. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (853) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    Going to make an educated guess and say nine inches soft and benching 280? Am I in the right ballpark?
    JayORear likes this.
  37. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,253) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Well, for your sake I hope that hard seltzer never completely goes away (e.g., Zima).

    If it does go away you might want to think about homebrewing hard seltzers - maybe this would up your 'bang' rate?:stuck_out_tongue:

    JayORear likes this.
  38. miwestcoaster

    miwestcoaster Meyvn (1,010) Jan 19, 2013 Michigan

    This fad is taking over my local big box where I buy most of my beer. The beer isle has open cooler space on both sides of the isle. The one side is only 50% of the total isle length and is the MBC aal cooler. The other full length isle was the crafty beer. Two months ago, 25 feet of the crafty isle was taken over by White Claw hard seltzer, etc. There are 4 shelves in the cooler so that is 100 foot of shelf space. I was at the same store last night and noticed 50 feet of the isle is now White Claw, etc., so 200 foot of cooler space is no longer crafty beer. They keep moving the Founders, Bell's down and obviously getting ride of low selling offerings. By the looks of it, it is the relatively expensive 16oz four-packs that are not on the shelf anymore, among others. I don't see this fad slowing down by observing what the 20 and 30- somethings are drinking.
  39. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,253) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    And I would expect that in 2020 you will see even more.

    Have you ever had Zima? Using that as a ‘model’ for these new hard seltzer beverages:

    Zima was first introduced in 1993 after being test marketed in a couple/few places. It was continually being produced in the US until 2008 so a run of 15 years. There have been some limited re-introductions in the US according to Wikipedia:

    “The beverage was sold again in the U.S. in summer 2017 and summer 2018. It did not return in 2019.”

    I am sure there were some peak production years sometime between 1993 and 2008 but I have no idea when that would be. Anecdotally I would guess there was a slow ‘death’ sometime like the time period of 200x – 2008.

    I would not expect that you will see the end of the hard seltzer fad anytime soon. I feel confident in predicting that 15 years from now there will still be beer on the shelves of your “local big box” store.


  40. mickyge

    mickyge Savant (965) Nov 1, 2014 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    When we have a party or a cookout, I usually by a mixed 12 or 24 12 oz. pack depending on the head count
    1 won't be appreciated
    2 won't be finished because people like to turn 16 oz. cans into flights as in a sip out of this can and a sip out of that can ect.
    3 I don't like my side of the family so I buy cheaper beer at a package store.
    JediMasterLenin likes this.