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As autumn leaves begin falling and the dog days of summer are left behind, Wegmans Food Markets’ Beer Shops are stocked for the change of seasons with an incredible selection of 500 to 1,000 SKUs of beer, hard cider, hard seltzer, and other flavored alcoholic beverages for every style and preference.
“There are approximately 6,500 breweries in the country, and our greatest challenge is staying on top of all the new and emerging items out there,” says Beer Category Merchant Mark Agnello, a 30-year Wegmans employee. “We seek to offer the best quality craft brews. I’m always thinking about what’s new and exciting for our customers.”
With that in mind, Agnello points to these items and trends to be on the lookout for in Wegmans Beer Shops this fall:
1. Munich, Germany’s traditional Oktoberfest runs Saturday, Sept. 22 through Sunday, Oct. 7. For many beer drinkers, Oktoberfest inspires the transition from lighter, tart summer ales to more malty, heavy flavors as temperatures typically begin cooling off. Wegmans carries up to 20 different Oktoberfest beers, including Spaten, Sam Adams, Yuengling, and Harpoon sold in all stores, as well as craft Oktoberfest beers from local brewers in each market area.
2. Founders Brewing Curmudgeon’s Better Half: This limited release is a flavorful “old ale” brewed with molasses and aged 365 days in oak bourbon barrels that were most recently used to age Michigan maple syrup. A previously retired brew from Founders’ barrel-aged series, it was last bottled in 2012. While Curmudgeon’s Better Half is sold only in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles, other Founders favorites such as Solid Gold Lager, All Day IPA, Centennial IPA, Rübaeus Raspberry Ale, Porter, and Breakfast Stout can be mixed and matched within Wegmans Craft Your Own Packs this season.
3. Freshness isn’t just for the perishable departments anymore. Wegmans periodically partners with breweries on special fresh beer releases. The concept is similar to its long-standing local produce partnerships, in which nearby farms deliver in-season fruit and vegetables directly to stores. For select "freshest" beer releases, the beers are packaged at the brewery, sent to distributors, and quickly delivered to Wegmans Beer Shops at the peak of perfection. For example, Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York, will deliver fresh Neon Rainbows NEIPA to Wegmans locations in New York between Sept. 27 and 29, within just three days of leaving the brewery’s new canning line.
4. On the topic of cans, customers can expect to see more craft beer sold in cans in the future. There are sustainability advantages to cans and beer-canning technology has greatly improved in recent years. When done properly, the beer quality is ideal because cans don’t let in light or oxygen. More craft breweries are canning than ever before, and 15-packs of cans are increasing in availability. Founders All Day IPA Session Ale is currently the nation’s top-selling canned craft beer.
5. Popular gluten-free favorites like flavored hard seltzers and rosé hard ciders are carrying on from summer into fall. Wegmans Beer Shops include rosé ciders by Angry Orchard, Strong Bow, and Crispin, as well as several local varieties. Bubbly hard seltzers like White Claw and Truly Spiked & Sparkling offer another refreshing, gluten-free option.
6. There’s no denying that pumpkin spice season is here, and those craving pumpkin brews will find up to 15 varieties in Wegmans Beer Shops. Although the pumpkin beer craze peaked a few years ago, Southern Tier Pumking Imperial Ale stands out as a go-to item for craft beer enthusiasts looking to usher in the start of fall. With a malty sweetness and flavors of vanilla, clove, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pie crust, Southern Tier Brewing Company recommends pairing Pumking with smoked foods, pumpkin pie and rolls, and (right around the corner) Thanksgiving dinner.
Cheers to fall!
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is a 98-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, recognized as an industry leader and innovator, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 21 consecutive years, ranking #2 in 2018.
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