I went out at lunch today to a large box store to pick up a few items on my grocery list. But, when I pushed the cart into the beer aisle, I found myself very disappointed. More of the larger named beers have been added and smaller craft beers are obviously missing. Which leads to my question… the ever changing beer aisle is that good or bad?
Personally, I think it’s bad. In this case, my big box store, Wal Mart, increased the offerings of Budweiser, yet has significantly decreased the amount of craft beer offerings. Now, I am a fan of Bud Light, but does a store really need eight plus feet to sell it? I think not.
Is this a problem specific to box stores? Lately, I have found the larger grocery chains have increased the shelf space for Budweiser, Michelob, Corona and other larger breweries. But, since the beer aisle is only so big, that means less space for craft beer choices. Usually, the beer aisle, left to right, offers the ciders, seltzers, and wine cooler products. Then we transition to the craft beer offerings and then the larger breweries. Sadly, I think we may be heading backward on the exposure for the smaller breweries across the country.
As I travel around I find myself stopping into small liquor and grocery stores, just to see their beer offerings. A lot of the smaller stores carry beers brewed by local or regional breweries. It’s a great way to pick up something new to try. Especially if the tap room is not nearby or you don’t have time to stop by the tap room. I consider that my souvenir shopping. Instead of a tee-shirt, I may never wear, I will bring back a sampling of local beers I know I cannot find in my area.
For a while, craft beer was a fixture in the beer aisle. Lately, the larger breweries have taken over more of the aisle. Every once in awhile, a Bud Light is tasty, but I am really disappointed when I struggle to even find a Fat Tire or Flying Dog option in a larger store. Yes, I understand those are larger craft options, but they are much more “craft” than a Bud Light.
As I travel across the country and try different beers I am more and more committed to promoting the industry of craft beer. There are so many really good beers to try so let’s seek out those stores that carry the smaller breweries craft choices. Buy up the aisle and enjoy a few, or more, once we get home.
Change is good, but when change brings us fewer good beer choices… then change is bad.