Craft Beer From The Grocery Store – Keep It Fresh!
Whether you are beginning your journey into craft beer, or you are a weathered journey-person, you are sometimes presented with the option of buying it at your local supermarket. Some of the benefits of buying craft beer at your supermarket are that you can often times buy larger quantities for gatherings, and if you are lucky, get it far cheaper than you would at a bottle shop or liquor store.
I know not every state and city here in the US sells beer and wine in supermarkets, but please follow me in my message.
Do yourself a favor and make sure what you pick up at the grocery store is fresh. Sometimes this isn’t easy, but I have found a few ways to minimize buying a bunk 6 pack, 12 pack, or 22 oz. bottle of beer. Nothing will turn off a new craft beer drinker, or an old one like a stale, mistreated beer. Here in our region of Southern California, we have an abundance of Sierra Nevada, Firestone Walker and Stone Brewing products at our super markets. Unbeknownst to these quality brewers, folks may very well be picking up a really old six pack of Stone IPA. These types of experiences are bad for you and bad for the reputation of the brewer. Does the poor man or woman working for their union $9.00 an hour really have to care how fresh the beer is? No. His or her job is to do what they are asked to, stock the shelves, change the tags, take inventory. So take this matter into your own hands.
- Look on the neck of the bottle, the bottom of the bottle, the bottom of the six pack holder for a bottled on date or drink by date. At that point, the choice is yours. If you don’t see this info, email or call the brewer and ask them how you can tell!
- If you don’t find any inked on information that will give you an idea of the age of the beer, ask the stock clerk if they have an old box that these were taken out of. I found out Green Flash puts their bottled on date on their case box, but not on the six packs themselves. Ask for an estimate of when these beers were stocked.
- Take a gamble, and if you lose the bet on whether the beer is fresh, keep your receipt, and take it back to the market. I’ve never been to a super market that hasn’t honored a return in this manner. Let the manager know that you like the product, but it is clearly not in good shape.
- Rat out the distributor to the brewer. There is a decent chance the distributor isn’t properly rotating out stock in a timely manner. Once it leaves the brewery, it’s really in the distributors hands. Speaking of taking a gamble, they are taking a gamble that you don’t know jack about beer, and will drink whatever is on sale, or whatever gets you drunk. INSULTING!! Ask the grocer who delivers this beer, and let the brewer know you are getting some stale or lousy product through these channels.
Now don’t get to crazy or too insane about this. There are plenty of ways to get fresh quality beer besides the grocery store. In this challenging economy, I find it’s worth a little effort to get a deal on one of my favorite things in this world, beer!