On Tap: The Rise of Alcohol at Non-Traditional Locations

More and more establishments are tapping into alcohol to attract and retain customers

Suddenly, you can grab an ale almost anywhere. Everyone from movie theaters, grocery stores and even retail clothing stores are getting into the alcohol game as a service to customers. Growing leaps and bounds, this popular trend is catching on around the US and shows no sign of slowing down. It follows the shift in perception around drinking in public outside of bars – more and more people see no problem with enjoying a beer or two while watching a movie or shopping.

This shift in attitude has been a boon for establishments. According to a Nielsen study, movie theaters that sell beer saw a 61% increase in beer sales between 2012 and 2016. Outside of movie theaters, “other entertainment” venues have seen a 132% boost on beer sales in the same time period.

An early adopter of this trend, Whole Foods is pouring local craft beers, wines and even mixing cocktails at in-store bars at their new locations, and retrofitting them into older ones. Some of the newer locations have even started brewing their own beer on-site. Their goal is to be an even larger part of the community by offering a common gathering place and keep customers hanging out longer. Plus, a drink in-hand makes the grocery shopping more experience even more enjoyable.

This appeal is being capitalized on even beyond traditional entertainment venues food retailers. Barnes & Noble is testing out alcohol and limited food offerings in their new Barnes & Noble Kitchen concepts launching in select locations. They aren’t just providing your standard light lagers either. These locations are serving local beers and higher ABV IPAs for customers who want to sip and enjoy only a drink or two vs. a more sports-watching crowd.

Another venue that’s looking to broaden its appeal with booze is Taco Bell. They’re ditching the drive-thru in 300 new locations to provide a fast-casual dine-in experience that serves delicious alcohol beverages. They revamped their frozen drink options to include flavors you’d pair with a Mexican dish like Piña Colada and Margarita.

For some of these industries, like retail, it shows signs of life moving forward. As brick-and-mortar venues struggle to attract consumers, providing an adult beverage while they enjoy a movie, browse for a book or shop gives customers something new and exciting to keep them coming back.

To learn more about the alcohol & beverage industry and how to reach your customer base in exciting new ways, contact us.

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