This post is half rant and half “ask the audience”, so strap in and enjoy the ride! The rant and poll revolve around the following two questions:
- Do you regularly find yourself lost or hunting endlessly for a particular Craft Beer in a poorly organized beer aisle?
- Do you think you could do a better job of organizing a retail Craft Beer store?
Before we get to the poll, here’s my rant…
During my lunch break the other day, I hit my favorite liquor store, Total Wine in Cherry Hill, NJ, to refill my brew fridge. Total Wine has always been a good source for Craft Beer, and they have really stepped up there game when it comes to Craft Beer and whisk(e)y selection. My complaint is not with the selection, but how they’ve chosen to organize it.
Total Wine, like most Craft Beer purveyors, insists on organizing craft singles and bomber bottles in an arbitrary “same flavor” system. I understand the logic of this since it is very similar to the by region/variety method of selling wine, and is intended to allow buyers to say “if I like this one, then I’ll probably like the one right next to it“, thereby selling more beer.
There are several problems with this:
- Unlike wine, labeled beer “varieties” aren’t the same (in terms of flavor) from brewery to brewery. They vary wildly.
- Quality swings from brewery to brewery are extreme. Some breweries just suck!
- Most beer drinkers either stick to one beer, or like to explore different types and flavors, so organizing by variety doesn’t really help.
- The people that stock the shelves don’t know a pale ale from their ass, so any varietal organization quickly falls apart when brews are “orphaned” or lost in the “seasonal brew” or “special reserve” section.
I would prefer that they just keep it simple and organize beer by brewery. That way when I am looking for (fill in the blank new beer) from Smuttynose Brewery I can just find the selections from Smuttynose and then find the brew I am looking for.
To promote “try something that tastes the same”, shopping retailers could simply color code shelf tags highlighting the dominant characteristic of each brew (think Garanimals for beer drinkers). You like a little chocolate kick in your brew? Look for a brown tag and try the Brooklyn Chocolate Stout or Terrapin Moo-Hoo. Like hoppy? Follow the green tags to Sixpoint Resin or a Sierra Nevada Torpedo. Simple and effective.
So how would you you organize the beer aisle? Take our poll and let us know!
Categories: Booze Banter