It's a trick some of the most beloved and fastest-growing grocery chains figured out early on: Good booze can bring in shoppers. Trader Joe's has long been known as a great place to grab value wines. The German chains Lidl and Aldi have both made wine a priority during their expansions. And back in 2016, the U.K. chain Asda made headlines when one of its $6 wine selections landed a best in show award. Hey, you know who owns Asda? Walmart. And it sounds like the massive American retailer is taking some of its own lessons from across the pond.
Walmart has been rethinking its booze department lately, making a push towards more local craft beer and fine wines and spirits, according to Business Insider. "There's been a significant shift in our assortment this year to make sure that we are not just taking care of our customers with all the core offerings they expect, but really getting into that premium and innovative assortment that we're really not known for at this point," Jason Fremstad, VP of adult beverages for Walmart U.S. stores, told the site.
Reportedly, that's included everything from stocking up on trendy hazy IPAs and hard seltzer—which are localized "down to the store level"—to products with more innovative packaging like canned wine, to traditional high-end brands like Veuve Clicquot. Apparently, one Walmart store even bought a single barrel of Buffalo Trace bourbon and was selling it direct to customers. "We got great feedback," Fremstad was quoted as saying, "so that's something that we'll continue to do more of."
So if you've noticed a difference in Walmart's alcohol selection near you, that's not a coincidence (or a manager gone rogue). Fremstad stated that the changes started in the spring will continue for the time being. "What we define as local is what literally is driving our craft business," Fremstad added.
So, uh, think local, shop at Walmart… is that how the saying goes?