Mixology, for edgier retail

July 25, 2012

Supermarkets can responsibly tap into livelier sales and image opportunities with cocktails.

Supermarkets could make a lot more of alcohol than they do today. Depending on state and local laws, of course, The Lempert Report sees opportunities for cocktails, wine and beer to uplift image and store performance.

Whole Foods Market reportedly has several wine and microbrew bars in Texas, California, Arizona and Illinois since last year, with plans for more. 

But we see such lively trends in cocktail drinks—such as new flavored beverages, creative recipes, and stylistic ways to serve—that supermarkets should decide on a store-by-store basis where to implement alcohol-related business-building ideas.

These programs, we feel, could concentrate primarily in two areas:

  • Host mixology classes in the evenings as fun learning/social events. They’d appeal to Millennials who often build a pre-buzz with friends at home before going out to clubs on a weekend night. A supermarket that knows its cocktails (or hires a professional bartender to free-lance host these classes) would bond with and be credible to this key shopping audience. The frequency of classes could intensify as the calendar approaches key holiday and home-entertainment seasons. This would benefit adult consumers of all ages who’d want to improve their liquor-serving skills for when they host friends, family and business associates at home.
  • Offer bartenders-at-your-party services to add a high-margin aspect to prepared-foods and bakery services. Supermarkets that rent out mixologists by the hour for office and home parties should be able to out-price caterers and party firms. In our view, this is not only a good incremental business; it will seriously upgrade a store’s image when it comes to selling beer, wine, spirits and mixes at the shelf.

Let’s raise our glasses to an untapped opportunity by supermarkets, which could simplify the entertainment challenge for many customers and add a fun, lucrative aspect to their stores.