Craft Beer in Odd Places

I remember my years in university—all five of them, to be exact—when my friends and I would cram into our beat up automobiles in groups of six or seven and travel to the nearest supermarket to stock up for that Friday night party or Tuesday after-class barbecue pit.

Supermarkets, along with gas stations and convenience stores, were designated as “go to” places for what we deemed most important during those years of insignificant (at least now) exams, awkward hook-ups, and just good ol’ post-adolescent confusion.When we wanted to relax and watch television, we consumed it. When we wanted to cause a ruckus and have computer chair races down our rickety staircase, we consumed even more of it. This “friend” seemed to be present for any and all occasions throughout college; a close homie, a confidant of sorts, and “someone” I always knew would be there for me if I made that trip to the Price Chopper in town.

What, or who am I referring to, you ask?

BEER.

But not just any beer. I am referring to the “cheap” beer. You know, the beer we all start out drinking with our friends in parking lots when we turn of legal age. The beer that, in most cases, tastes similar to corn and piss water, is light on the pocket, is served EVERYWHERE, and is found on beer pong tables all across America.

You can always count on “cheap” beer to be sold at the supermarket.

Note: please refrain from your comments, judgmental scoffers. I am completely aware that price, taste, opinion, and overall categorization of beer is a subjective matter. However, this is my blog. Therefore I can do and say as I want. Therefore I win. Now let us continue.

That reliability still holds true today, as one can find several of these budget-friendly beers down the beverage aisle of any King Kullen or Waldbaum’s. Brands like Keystone Light, Milwaukee’s Best, Busch and Pabst Blue Ribbon are all convenience staples, and all are intertwined with fond memories of my college tenure. However, I did notice an interesting thing while browsing through a Miller Place Stop & Shop several weeks back. Toward the rear of the store, adjacent to the dairy section, sat a five-tier shelf of microbrewed (according to the Brewers Association, a microbrewery produces 15,000 barrels or less per year) beer. Now, this wasn’t your local microbrewery sighting, which can be fairly common if one is in close proximity (think Patchogue’s Blue Point in 7-Eleven’s throughout Suffolk County). Nope, this was straight United States of America micro—Stone Brewing Co., Smuttynose, Lagunitas, Brooklyn and Sierra Nevada—on its own display shelf, for your everyday shopper to see. Upon noticing this, I quickly placed my rotisserie chicken down, reached into my satchel for my camera, and snagged a photograph.

It’s refreshing to see small businesses made available for sale in larger corporate chains. Whatever the product may be, I believe it’s all about providing people with more options to make their decision.

More options = More information = More education = A smarter Joe Schmo

At least one hopes so.

Regardless, if that five-tier display in Miller Place causes even just one person to try a new beer, I think it served its purpose.

Has anyone come across something similar to my experience in Stop & Shop? Craft beer in “odd” places?

Share your stories below.

P.S. — Again, this was not an attack on “mass-produced” beer. I like, and still drink beer like Coors and Miller. I believe there is place in the market for everyone, mass or micro-produced, which was exactly the point of this entry. Everyone deserves a piece.