People are busy and don’t really have time to do everything during the day. That’s the beauty of a new up-and-coming trend:  the sip and shop. Now you don’t have to pick between errands and a relaxed, social environment. You can do them both in one swoop at your favorite store!

There are happy hour specials and charismatic bartenders at your go-to grocery chain. People at home, meanwhile, are logging onto Amazon as they sip from their glass of wine. Overall, it’s safe to say this is a trend that’s popping up in both the offline and online worlds! It’s a thing that’s here to stay and there’s a lot you need to know.

How can you get on board with the idea of a “sip and shop” or drinking whiles shopping if you’re running a business? What should you expect as a consumer? Pour yourself a drink and let’s get to the bottom of this bottle!  

What Stores Allow You to Drink As You Shop?

Most bars are crowded, have terrible lighting, and always have that one creepy guy at the jukebox. You won’t find that at your local supermarket bar!

As of 2019, here are the stores that allow you to drink while you shop:

  • Mariano’s
  • Whole Foods
  • Target
  • Wegmans
  • The Shops at La Cantera
  • Winn-Dixie
  • Blue Goose Market
  • Tom Thumb’s
  • Lucky’s Market Sarasota

Mariano’s

In the grand scheme of things, Mariano’s is a young store with the first location opening in 2010.

However, they’re quickly making a name for themselves with cheap specialty wines and beers, a fully stocked oyster bar, and an accompanying pianist who plays both classic tunes and jazzy numbers. This lends itself to a comfortable environment where customers feel welcomed.

Whole Foods

Source: tucsonweekly.com

There are currently 350 Whole Foods in the United States that offer booze as you peruse. This creates a shopping experience that’s much more comfortable and social than the one you’d find at other grocery stores.

You can fill a stylish growler with your favorite drink from their bar and take it to-go. It’s a great way for Whole Foods to stay top-of-mind and encourage customers to come back for more.

Target

Source: supermarketnews.com

Target hit the bullseye when they announced an upcoming bar in select locations. They already have a huge fanbase, but the addition of good drinks could take the popular retailer to the next level!

The plan was for a store near Chicago’s Navy Pier to be the first to obtain a liquor license. This is still in the works and could be making its debut in the near future.

Wegmans

Source: bostonmagazine.com

Wegmans is a grocery store that’s found in the East Coast. Some of their locations feature a fully stocked bar, complete with a lobster dinner special!

It’s a great place for people to go on date night, which makes the grocery store so much more than just that place you go to get bread!

The Shops at La Cantera

Source: simplemost.com

The mall is usually a crowded and overpriced place, especially around the holidays. That’s why it’s exciting to visit the Shops at La Cantera in San Antonio.

You can walk around the mall with a tasty beverage in hand. All you need is a special wristband that grants you access for the day!

Winn-Dixie

Source: jaxdailyrecord.com

Winn-Dixie in Neptune Beach, Florida is another grocery store that’s onboard with the drinking and shopping trend. At the “Taproom,” you can get a to-go growler filled with 12 different varieties of wine. Each one is as delicious as the last!

Customers are more likely to visit the deli, bakery, and all other areas of the store if they have a drink to sip while they wait. This is something to keep in mind if you’re a business owner that wants to have an edge over the competition. A bar is an easy way to keep people in your store.

Blue Goose Market

Source: kellenbergerelectric.com

The Blue Goose Market is a small grocer located in St. Charles, a suburb in Northern Illinois. As a small business, Blue Goose has to do whatever it takes to stand apart from the competition.

The store looks like a castle, so it’s only fitting that customers are treated like royalty with a full bar that serves a variety of cocktails, wines, and beers.

Tom Thumb’s

Source: papercitymag.com

Tom Thumb’s describes shopping at their store as an “urban grocery experience.” It’s this sense of sophistication that puts their store above your average grocery store.

The idea is to offer the people in Dallas an upscale environment where they can order sushi, lounge in comfy outdoor seating, and sip wine and beer that comes from a local brewery.

Lucky’s Market Sarasota

Source: sarasota.citymomsblog.com

This Floridan grocery store may be known for their delicious assortment of natural and organic foods, but their real claim to fame can be found in a beautiful built-in bar.

As an added bonus, Lucky’s Market is in walking distance of the local beach, which makes the store a perfect place for people who are hungry and thirsty from a day in the sun.

If you are in charge of a grocery store or run an ecommerce company, it’s worth taking note of the “sip and shop” trend. Many businesses are letting the drinks flow and it’s been incredibly successful across the board! In fact, America spent $39.4 billion while drinking and shopping in 2019.

For a consumer, the grocery store bar offers a culture that’s not quite Cheers, but still makes you feel, well, cheerful. With specialty beers at around $2 a glass, and delicious red wines around $3 in some locations, the supermarket is turning into the place to be on Saturday night!

Learn more about the drinking and grocery shopping trend!

What About Online Shopping?

Sure, you can have a drink while you’re grabbing bread, eggs, and butter. However, many adults are also tossing back a few while they’re at home on their computer. In fact, 79% of people admitted to making at least one online purchase while having a few drinks.

It turns out, some drinks result in a higher price tag than others. In fact, according to a survey by Archstone Recovery Center, these are the drinks that will give you the biggest financial hangover while shopping online!

People who’ve had a few drinks aren’t just sitting around watching Netflix. They’re hopping on the computer and doing some shopping! A few drinks could mean all the difference between buying that $20 dress and leaving it in shopping cart purgatory.

Want to Make the Sip & Shop Part of Your Business?

If the law allows this in your state, it could mean big bucks to offer a bar in your store. Ecommerce companies, on the other hand, can also encourage a bit of booze when shopping, whether it’s through ads or a fun blog post on your website.

It’s well worth the effort to make drinking and shopping part of your brand strategy. A shopper with a drink in hand will spend an average of $444 per year.

Are you interested in giving this trend a whirl? Try announcing a trial “sip and shop” event on social media. You can also stock up on stylish barware, like wine glasses or pints, and customize them with a clever message or your company’s name. If you’re on a budget, personalized plastic cups work just as well!

Final Thoughts

The idea of a “sip and shop” really only works if everyone is on board with acting responsibly! The last thing you want is a drunken brawl in front of the store, a chugging contest in Aisle 4, or someone in tears over a $5000 online purchase.

Encourage a safe environment where your customers can grab a drink and relax as they’re doing their shopping. It should never feel like a scene from Animal House.

References

Dix-Kessler, R. (2019). America’s Drunk Shopping Habit Balloons to Almost $40 Billion. Retrieved from, https://www.finder.com/drunk-shopping

Petro, K. (2019, March 26). [New Research] Here’s How Alcohol Influences Online Shopping. Retrieved from, https://www.impactplus.com/blog/new-research-heres-how-alcohol-influences-online-shopping

Paul, K. (2018, March 6). America Has a Billion-Dollar Drunk Shopping Problem. Retrieved from, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/costumes-for-cats-and-500-candy-canes-inside-americas-billion-dollar-drunk-shopping-habit-2018-03-06

Crockett, Z. (2019, March 24). The 2019 Drunk Shopping Census. Retrieved from, https://thehustle.co/drunk-shopping-survey

Cooley, S. (2014, April 28). 11 Reasons Why Mariano’s Should Be Your Go-To Grocery Store. Retrieved from, https://www.thrillist.com/eat/chicago/best-chicago-grocery-store-mariano-s

Herman, V. (2015, September 1). Target Aims to Start Serving Alcohol for the First Time. Retrieved from, https://fortune.com/2015/09/01/target-alcohol/

MacNeill, A. (2019, March 21). One Mass. Whole Foods Wants You to Be Able to Drink Beer and Wine As You Shop. Retrieved from, https://www.boston.com/food/beer/2019/03/21/whole-foods-sudbury-beer-wine

Sugar, R. (2018, November 30). Grocery Stores Are Bars Now. Retrieved from, https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/11/30/18116801/kroger-whole-foods-wegmans-grocery-store-bars

White, M. (2018, July 30). Drunk Americans Spend a Total of $30B Online Each Year – But What They Drink Impacts How Crazy They Get. Retrieved from, https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/drunk-americans-spend-total-30b-online-each-year-what-they-n895886

Fields, J. (2018, October 24). You Can Now Drink Wine and Beer While You Shop at This Mall. Retrieved from, https://www.simplemost.com/you-can-now-drink-wine-and-beer-while-you-shop-at-this-mall/

Bortzfield, B. (2019, January 15). Drinking Beer While Buying Groceries is Now a Bigger Thing in Neptune Beach. Retrieved from, https://news.wjct.org/post/drinking-beer-while-buying-groceries-now-bigger-thing-neptune-beach

Schaenzer, A. (2019, February 6). St. Charles Oks Wine Drinking at Grocery Stores. Retrieved from, https://patch.com/illinois/stcharles-il/st-charles-oks-wine-drinking-grocery-stores 

Ziots, M. (2019, April 18). New Uptown Grocery store Lets You Drink While You Shop. Retrieved from, https://www.papercitymag.com/restaurants/tom-thumb-grocery-store-uptown-dallas-wine-bar-drinking-shopping/

Haney, L. (2017, October 3). Drinking and Grocery Shopping: Lucky’s Market Sarasota. Retrieved from, https://sarasotamanatee.momcollective.com/in-around-town/dining-out/drinking-and-grocery-shopping-luckys-market-sarasota/

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.