3.2 Beer Being Phased Out?

recent article linked from the the NABCA Daily News discusses the early conversations regarding 3.2 phase out.  The point to be taken is that since Minnesota will be one of two states that is still selling 3.2 beer, the push to sell strong beer by the grocers and convenience stores in the next few years will be quite aggressive.

We as an industry of independent, family owned businesses need to understand that the Big-Box push is upon us!  Target and Cub have aggressively expanded and retrofitted their stores to accommodate for a larger off-premise footprint.  Several months ago, Walgreens announced that they will be, once again, getting back into the off-premise market across the nation.  What does that mean for our retailers?  Plenty!

Our off-premise industry needs to be in a position to compete.  Competing in this Big Box world can be accomplished.  MLBA members need to buy big.  That means buying the larger case deals on all alcohol products.  Pool buying with other accounts and maybe even your competition on your wine and spirits can be done.  No, pool buying on beer is not allowed.  I am trying to make sense of that as I am typing this article.  Running sales, updating your shelving and lighting, becoming more aggressive with your advertising and social media campaigns are just a few things that will allow you to compete.  Do you carry product out to customers cars?  Do you deliver in your territory to those who request?

For the metro and even out of the metro area retailers, has some of the Big Box retailers already taken some of your customers?  Have you asked them why?  I find too many retailers that complain that they are losing market share and are unwilling to even ask those used to be loyal customers why they are no longer shopping with them.  You would be surprised with what you hear.  Listen to those customers!  They have answers for you.

Are those customers buying brands that they think they can only buy from Total, Target or even Costco?  Did you know that you can get those brands in your retail outlets?  Well, you can.  Traditionally, those “proprietary brands” are sold at a massive markup by the Big Box retailers.  We have seen retailers get those proprietary brands from their respective wholesalers, put their standard markup on them and beat the prices by Big Box retailers!  If you have questions about this specific topic, you have to contact me!  We can do this together!

I am not saying that the fight with Big Box is easy.  What I am saying is that it can be done.  Our metro area retailers have sharpened their pencils and are competing and in a lot of cases, winning!

Please read the article about 3.2 Phase Out here and please do not hesitate to contact the dedicated staff at the MLBA.  We are here to serve you!

Tony Chesak
MLBA Executive Director
651-772-0910 • tony@mlba.com