The ‘craft beer’ in the supermarket hullabaloo continues to divide opinion, and while it’s not so neatly divided as (independent) retailers versus customers, it’s approaching it. I was broadly positive about Tesco’s move into ‘craft beer’ when I wrote this back in November, but my position has changed somewhat. I refuse to purchase any beers imported from the USA as I don’t believe Tesco are serious about storage and BBO dates are likely to be extended. However, I’m not averse to grabbing some UK-brewed beer as part of my regular shop, an impulse buy not unlike throwing a bar of chocolate into the basket as you near the check-out.
Boak and Bailey published a post recently that nicely dovetails with my experience. I may not be passive when it comes to beer, but as I was shopping for dinner today I bought the above beers almost as an afterthought. I had no intention of buying beer today, but these are two Brewdog beers I like, so in the basket they went. Now, I know of at least one person who doesn’t believe I should be buying Brewdog beers at all given my exasperation with their marketing bollocks, but life’s not a tin of instant custard.
Tesco et al will never compete with independent retailers, both online and on the high street. That’s not to say I don’t believe their foray into ‘craft’ presents a challenge to bottle shops, but I won’t be abandoning the latter anytime soon. I end with the same sentiment I did when I last wrote about this issue: we beer geeks often talk of how we exist in a bubble – it may be that we have the supermarkets to thank for bursting that bubble and extending the reach of good beer.