Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

June 20, 2016


The Beers of Walmart

The largest retailer in the world now has its own line of beers.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
Contact Eddie»
So apparently Walmart has their own private-label brand of beers now. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, both in the approach (the stock lineup of IPA, pale ale, amber, and wheat/wit is about as cutting edge as NBA-finals-are-rigged conspiracy theories) or marketing ingenuity (Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have had private-label brands for well over a decade, and even relatively lower-entry chains like HyVee have had private-label stuff for several years), but it’s still gotten more than its fair share of press.

Most of said press coverage in craft beer circles has focused on who is actually brewing the beer, since it’s quite obvious Walmart isn’t building out brewing facilities in the back of their stores. The labels say “Trouble Brewing,” which means nothing since it’s just a DBA, but the likely suspect is Genesee in Rochester. Frankly, I couldn’t give a shit who is brewing the stuff since the chance of me walking into a Walmart is even lower than me buying any of their beer.

Normally the only use I have for Walmart is for laughing at how “people really live this way,” but I do see an interesting angle to this story. It’s a huge indicator of how deeply craft beer has made inroads into American culture. It wasn’t that long ago at all that people not “into” craft beer or home brewing even knew of craft beer’s existence, or if they did know of it, they called it “that dark beer” in the same tone they mentioned their weird cousin who went vegan a few years back and was totally into yoga.

But now Walmart—which is basically only a narrow step above the dollar stores in terms of target demographics—is buying whole-hog into the craft beer trend. Is this a good thing? Bad? I think it’s just another “thing”—how significant remains to be seen—in the constantly evolving state of craft beer.