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To most of you outside of Pennsylvania this may seem like a normal thing but here in the fine SW corner of the commonwealth this is a first. For the first time we are able to buy beer in a grocery store and Giant Eagle’s Market District is the place.
Nestled in the corner of newly christened Settlers Ridge the mansion of foodie heaven opened its doors this weekend. You’re here for beer though, and quite frankly that’s why I went.
There are 2 coolers. The one pictured above and then around the corner from it that is 4x’s as long. There was also a display of Christmas beers at the street entrance to the cafe. I would loved to have taken more pictures of the beer layout but there were so many people in there you wouldn’t have seen anything. If you’re familiar with Wegman’s on Upper Peach in Erie the coolers are similar. No rows of bottles though.
One worker told me they have 250 different beers which, from a bottle shop standard, is on the lower end of the spectrum but I do give them credit for going above and beyond the Bud/Miller/Coors. The cooler pictured above is for single bottles. I was pleased to the gang from Ommegang (avg price $7.99) going top shelf and joined by Brooklyn’s Local 1 and 2, Chimay, Orval (for $5! wooo) and a class from Lindemans.
Unfortunately this is the only section with freestanding bottles. Everything else is 4 , 6 or 12 packs. Overall display and appeal of setup was pretty high and everything was clearly marked with a price which is great when you’re there for a quick pickup.
This is where the knife will be plunged into the heart of most bottle shops who rely on carry out beer sales. I like using Arrogant Bastard as a price gauge. That’s pretty much a staple of any craft beer store and if they stick you on that then you’re in for an expensive trip. Market District price was $4.50, avg. bottle shop $7, restaurant price $11. Based on prices I’ve seen recently, Market District offers beverages $1-3 cheaper than most bottle shops on the singles and almost $5 cheaper on the 4 and 6 packs.
This is a huge step for craft beer in PA. I don’t see a lot of the bottle shops losing too much business since its 2 different levels of service you’re getting… for now. Market District is too new for us to know what they’re going to do in terms of events or how educated the staff will be. Local bottle shops are usually staffed with beer geeks and have a wider selection meanwhile if you need a beer in a pinch and want convenience odds have it you’ll hit the supermarket. Now with Wine and Spirit stores in many Giant Eagles you really can have a one stop shop. Local breweries who are getting their beers into these stores will now have remarkable visibility and the BMC drinkers will hopefully get a better understanding of the varieties out there. My wish for now is that they get some aisles for single bottles and 6packs that aren’t already chilled in the coolers.
Here is the beer list for Market District.
P.S. Oh yeah my shopping. I picked up 3 Philosophers, Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale and Orval for $19.