WINSIGHT GROCERY BUSINESS AUGUST 2019 75
“But instead of a typical beer tasting, we wanted to do
something more exciting. We decided to pair beer from a
local brewery with food, either items from our prepared
dishes or super-simple recipes using our products.”
Barons’ Backroom Beer Pairings are held four times a
year in all eight stores, and they cost $15 per person. The
company promotes the events with posters and postcards
in its stores, as well as through its website and social
media pages. Each event accommodates 60 to 100 peo-
ple, and tickets typically sell out three days prior to the
“Because we’re working with a local brewery and a local
organization, oftentimes we get local TV stations to come
out and do a story on the event,” Shemirani says. “While
this event started out as a way to introduce customers to
our store, it’s now become a community event that our
customers look forward to. We’re always getting asked
when our next beer pairing will be and which brewery
To pair with the local brews, Barons serves menu items
such as sliders, tacos, salads, crostini, soups from its hot
soup bar, favorites from its antipasto bar and decadent
desserts, including its Barons Brownies and ice cream
“It’s a great way to promote our products and prepared
foods, as well as our beer department,” Shemirani says.
no exception,” says Christina Gayman, director of public
relations for West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee Inc.
“From happy hours in our Hy-Vee Market Grille and
Hy-Vee Market Grille Express restaurants to specials in our
foodservice departments, such as comfort-food night, we
offer fresh food options in a convenient setting that differ-
entiates us in the markets we serve,” Gayman says.
Through its promotions, Hy-Vee attracts a variety of cus-
tomers with different needs, including those who plan to
dine and drink only, as well as those who are there to shop
for groceries and enjoy something from the Market Grille.
“Two in 5 consumers say restaurants are an essential
part of their lifestyle, and 60% of people don’t know
what they are having for dinner at 4 p.m.,” Gayman says.
“Hy-Vee strives to provide a solution for each and every
customer regardless of whether they want to purchase
ingredients to cook at home, grab a quick meal on the go
or sit and enjoy a restaurant-style meal.
“Our promotions are created to provide experiences
for customers regardless of what their day looks like or
how much time they have to spend inside our stores and
Growlers and Grills
Weis Markets, based in Sunbury, Pa., wows its customers
with the vast selection of vino and brews at its in-store
cafes, some of which showcase more than 1,000 offerings. Last month it opened two additional in-store cafes,
bringing its total to 70 operating in Pennsylvania.
Its full-service in-store pub in Enola, Pa., offers a rotating selection of draft beers as well as a growler beer filling
station. “The pub features an adjoining cafe that offers
800 domestic and craft beers along with 500 varieties of
wine,” says Dennis Curtin, director of public relations.
“It adjoins an expansive food court offering hand-rolled
sushi made in-store and a selection of fresh cooked meals,
pizza and sandwiches.” The food court also includes
a grill counter that serves burgers, paninis and grilled
Backroom Beer Pairings
Barons Market, a San Diego-based grocer with eight
stores in Southern California, has found a clever way to
promote local craft beers without an in-store pub. About
five years ago, it began hosting wildly popular Backroom
Beer Pairings at its loading docks, back rooms or front
patios (depending on the liquor license at each store) that
introduce shoppers to local brews and brewers while raising money for area organizations.
“What better way to showcase our selection [of craft
beer] and introduce our customers to brand-new local
breweries than to have them try the beer and talk to the
brewer?” says Rachel Shemirani, SVP of Barons Market.
In-Store Concepts Retail Foodservice
We’re always getting asked when our next
beer pairing will be and which brewery
—Rachel Shemirani, Barons Market
Backroom Beer Pairings
raise money for area
Weis Market has 70
in-store cafes, including
some with growler