As grocers embrace the experiential in-store shop, more and more are incorporating innovative wine, beer and spirits departments; wine bars; local brews on tap; competitively priced adult beverage exclusives; and more. When it comes to winning wine selections and cool beers, these five retailers are succeeding in destination sips.
Always Affordable Aldi
At Aldi U.S. stores, Joan Kavanaugh, VP of national buying, has helped to curate a thoughtful selection of private label, international, regional and limited-time offers on wines at affordable prices for the entire Batavia, Ill.-based chain. From shaping the Aldi holiday Wine Advent Calendar to sourcing everyday bottles, Kavanaugh has been a driving force behind making the hard discounter a destination for wine during her more than 30-year career at Aldi U.S. The retailer’s everyday wine selection includes about 70 different wines, from traditional reds and whites to sparkling options. In addition to these staples, Aldi also offers a rotating selection of about 100 new wines every year as part of its Aldi Finds (limited-time, weekly offers).
Tops’ Multimillion-Dollar Drinks Department
When Tops Friendly Markets reopened its fully renovated 65,000-square-foot-store in Amherst, N.Y., the $2 million renovation project was dressed to impress with a new look and a renewed focus on fresh departments and other specialty areas of the store. In addition to new interior decor, a larger floral section and a wider selection of domestic and imported cheeses, the new store features an expanded brew market.
Save Mart’s Local Sips
Among the variety of signature experiences on tap at Save Mart’s 50,000-square-foot store in Redding, Calif., are an expansive selection of local wines and a wide selection of local beers. While shoppers can peruse local sips in the grocery aisles, the Redding Save Mart also features The Tipping Point, a fast-casual eatery with a local wine and beer menu designed to complement its grilled tri-tip, burritos, loaded nachos and more. Part of The Save Mart Cos., Save Mart operates 83 stores across California and Northern Nevada.
Beverages at Bristol Farms
At the Carson, Calif.-based Bristol Farms, promoting wine’s affinity with food throughout its stores is top of mind for Geoff Nicoll, director of wine and spirits. “We focus on the meal or the theme and build on that and try to incorporate value,” Nicoll said. “Easy options include placing sake on the sushi bar, Sauvignon Blanc placed by seafood, Chianti in our pasta section, or finding great quality [wines] and pairing them up with some Italian cheeses. It’s subtle, but effective.”
And while Bristol Farms’ wine departments draw shoppers in with soft lighting and a relaxed vibe that sets the area off from the rest of the store, the grocer also strategically places top-selling items in well-trafficked areas where shoppers can grab them on impulse without venturing into the wine department.
A Good Look for Schnucks
In October 2021, Schnucks unveiled a new look for its Kirkwood store at 10233 Manchester Road, including a food hall concept and refreshed wine, liquor and beer departments. At the time, Schnucks said a major theme of the remodel was "fresh choices." In addition, shoppers can peruse the upgraded and refreshed liquor and cold beer area featuring an expansive selection and modernized fixtures and displays.