Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lunch time just got a bit more Happy Time at Wegman's in Downingtown, PA

More quality beer takeout comes tomorrow, 4/23, to Philly's western suburbs. A Quick stop into Wegmans in Downingtown, PA today for lunch showed live beer wars taking place before my very eyes. Distributors and retailers duking it out for shelf space. Okay, not quite that dramatic but there was a frenzied activity around the cafe where beer sales of singles and sixers are due to begin tomorrow, April 23rd. Bottles and boxes were strewn around as order was being brought to beer's new home. Interesting thing is location, just inside in the cafe entry and to the left customers will be immediately greeted by beer. But, for customers already in the store, they need to pass the checkout area to find the beer only to return to the checkout counter. Seems, at first, to be a bit awkward but I'm sure it won't take long to get accustomed to...unless they eventually change the checkout design and layout. According to the manager, roughly 500 brands will be represented tomorrow on day 1 and judging from the carts full of beer cases, most locals and many familiar brands from around the country and world will be available to go or to eat in with your burrito, sandwich, sushi, pizza, or salad bar fixins. One sample of a single bottle price point was the Chimay Grande Réserve 750ml at $11.49. Tell the boss you'll be taking the afternoon off. Lunches just got a little longer.

5 comments:

Jeff said...

I have to get a jab in. I'm a bit surprised at the price point. I would have thought it would be really cheaper. While that's a good price. TJ's take out pricing comes out just slightly less than theirs.

Steve said...

I work about 10 minutes from this Downingtown Wegmans and it's great to see they'll be selling beer. Though from what I've heard they will be starting with 6 and 12 packs. The cold case with singles will be coming later.

Jeff, I don't think they have to compete w/ TJ's pricing as they're not really in the same area. Plus they're a high end grocery store so people are used to paying slightly higher prices. At least that's how I figure it.

Lynn Hoffman said...

Wegman's never felt it had to compete on price, so I'm not surprised, but that same Chimay Blue is $9 at Canal's in Jersey. I'm not saying that you should cross the bridge to save three bucks, just that I wish Wegman's would do a little better.
Lynn Hoffman, author of The Short Course in Beer

Jeff said...

Actually Steve, they are building a Wegman's about a mile away from TJ's and the Flying Pig. And I was a bit concerned when I first heard about it as I thought they would just blow both of us out the water when it came to take-out pricing. I thought I might have to give up the take-out business.

But, as I have been hearing more and more about their pricing now it just encourages me give up the BMC take-out and bring in more SKUs that Wegman's wouldn't even attempt to put on their shelves. And price them better than they would.

Wegman's will easily take over the beer trade in Downingtown and defeat other grocers in our area. But, Malvern is some pretty serious craft beer country.

Besides I've never backed down from a good challenge. BRING IT!

Bryan Kolesar said...

Jeff, a few more price updates from a quick trip in there this past weekend. Some seem a bit more aggressively priced than the Chimay I quoted. Plus, I noticed pretty much all Allgash around the $6.99 ballpark. Allagash's, Sly Fox's, and Bear Republic's were all pretty well picked over. Oh, I forgot to mention that it's interesting that are quite a few bottles lined up against the outer wall, where the blinds are kept open, streaming light right into some bottles, like the green Saison Dupont bottle.

750ml Brooklyn Local 1 - $8.99
750ml Sly Fox Blackberry Reserve - $9.99
11.2oz. Orval - $5.49
22oz. Bear Republic Racer 5 - $4.99