As a veteran of the supermarket industry, I’m always excited to see when a store does something truly innovative that sets them head and shoulders above the competition. One such distinction goes to Whole Foods Market, who recently launched their own beer—brewed on-site and not available anywhere else. Today, we’ll take a look at how Whole Foods made this inspiration a reality and changed the way we’ll think about grocery stores AND microbreweries forever!
Focus on Fresh Ingredients
With its array of fresh ingredients, Whole Foods Market serves as a fully-stocked pantry for new recipes. The brewmaster has free reign of the store to select fresh produce, herbs, spices, and anything else that will contribute to the ever-changing beverage menu. What’s more, this allows another opportunity to showcase local, seasonal products in a fresh way—and often on a weekly rotating basis. For example, the Smoking Monk is a Belgian-style beer that incorporates smoked pears sourced from the market itself.
Partnership with a Trusted Brewmaster
Whole Foods sought out an expert to ensure that their first venture into the beer arena would be successful. Enter Dave Ohmer, a beer specialist who learned a knack for formulating top-notch beer while working at a microbrewery in Knoxville, TN. Partnering with a brewer means creating an offering that’s unique to each store and, for the first in-store brewpub in Houston, showcases some distinctly Texan flavors. According to Ohmer, the supermarket setting is ideal for perfecting pints:
“With an entire produce department right here in our brewery, we can introduce new, fun flavors all the time. We can brew beers with Texas ingredients and offer local food pairings. Brewing in small batches allows us more experimentation, creativity and control.”
Exploring Creative Food Pairings
Another key opportunity for the Whole Foods Market Brewing Company is expanding customers’ knowledge and cross-promoting through food-and-beer pairings. As we’ve pointed out before, pairings can truly enhance your enjoyment of a food or beverage, and Whole Foods selections of specialty meats, cheeses, and desserts (along with breads, antipasti, and other foods) are a great complement to drinks you might enjoy for a special event or just a relaxing night at home. Remember: When you’re pairing beer with specialty cheese, be sure to choose complementary flavors rather than contrasting flavors! Check out this post to learn more about crafting the perfect cheese platter.
Have you ever wanted to be productive while still enjoying happy hour? Whole Foods has come up with a solution in the form of the Beer Bike.
Now customers in Houston can imbibe some of the store’s delicious craft beer while they shop for groceries thanks to an employee who delivers the brews to them on a bicycle!
(Sources: RetailNetGroup.com, SupermarketNews.com, Brewing.WFM.com, Houston.Culturemap.com, BeerandBrewing.com)