Kroger (KR) to add craft beer taps at select stores

CINCINNATI — Soon Kroger will be tapping into the success of craft beer as it plans to add beer taps to five southwest Ohio stores.

In May, the grocery chain said even more stores will get the beer upgrades after the initial rollout by the end of August.

Craft beer and wine sales are becoming an even bigger sales driver for the company in recent years. The shift comes as more and more competitors in the region also add to their craft selection and add beer taps.

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Many bottle shops, grocery stores and even gas stations are latching on to the “growler” trend. Growlers are re-sealable and re-fillable glass or metal containers popularized by the growing craft beer trend.

For instance, both Jungle Jim’s International Markets and all three Dorothy Lane Market stores have beer taps, in addition to local bottle shops. Bars in the area are even getting in on the movement and sell their own branded growlers.

A Whole Foods marketplace that opened in June in Washington Township features a pub and growler-refill station.

Kroger’s public affairs manager for the Cincinnati/Dayton division Patty Leesemann said the number of taps will vary from 10 to 12 and will vary by store. Most will be stocked with local, regional and national brews, Leesemann said.

The first give stores to get the beer taps will be:

  • the Austin Landing location off Ohio 741 in Miami Twp.
  • the Kettering “Fresh Fare” store at East Stroop and Shroyer roads
  • the Centerville Marketplace store on Ohio 48
  • the stores in Harper’s Point and Anderson Towne Center in the Cincinnati area

The Austin Landing store also has added beer tastings from 4 to 6 p.m. every day, the Kroger spokeswoman said.

Kroger said Northern Kentucky stores are also an option as they grow the growler program. Leesemann said they are reviewing all opportunities in the region.

“We are currently researching and continuing to evaluate which stores would be a good fit for growler stations based on location, interest from customers in craft beer and other data,” Leesemann said.

When asked if Cincinnati might start seeing more Dayton beers in Kroger stores, Leesemann said:

“At this time, we have Dayton’s Warped Wing in our Dayton area stores. We are evaluating other local breweries in Dayton. As far as what we are offering overall in both Cincinnati and Dayton, we will be offering a variety of craft beers, including seasonal, from local, regional and national breweries.”

The grocery chain said shoppers should expect to see some special events planned for the rollout but those details are being finalized.

For the latest Cincinnati beer news and entertainment, go to wcpo.com/beer or follow Jesse on Twitter at @wcpojesse .

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