Grocery stores serving beer and wine to drink while shopping

March 21, 2018

If this isn't the most Wisconsin thing you've ever heard: a growing number of Milwaukee-area grocery stores are outfitting carts with cupholders for pints of beer or a glasses of wine. 

A few of the stores enhancing the shopping experience include Whole Foods in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa, G. Groppi Food Market in Bay View, and several Metro Market and Fresh Thyme stores. 

"It's multitasking," brewer and co-owner of Black Husky Brewing Tim Eichinger said. "Shopping and doing your drinking at the same time is just efficiency." 

Metro Market in Shorewood, 4075 N. Oakland Ave., opened its bar two years ago. The store has eight beers on tap and six wines at the bar. Roundy's, which operates Metro Market, refers to them as "grocerants". 

"We're more of a beer bar," said the store's general manager, Tony Kuchinsky.

Whole Foods also encourages customers to drink while they shop, with more than 115 stores across the country offering alchohol to shoppers. 

"If you're having a beer or two while you're shopping, you're staying longer," said Phil Kuhl, craft beer and cider specialist for Breakthru Beverage Group, a distributor in Hartland.

Unfortunately, this trend does nothing to help Wisconsin's binge-drinking reputation. The CDC listed Wisconsin as the second drunkest state, after North Dakota. 

"In light of this, it is hard to think it a positive to have more places that serve alcohol, further desensitizing young people to alcohol use and tempting those who would not even consider having a drink while shopping for bread and milk," said Steven Miller, a licensed professional counselor and substance abuse counselor in Waukesha.