What Makes Whole Foods One Of The Most Reliable Grocery Chains For Beer

Let's talk beer. It's one of the world's oldest beverages, and if the Super Bowl is any indication, people can't get enough of it. More than 5,000 years of giving us a buzz while quenching our thirst, and beer is still going strong. In most of the United States, you can buy beer in convenience stores, gas stations, groceries, or specialty stores. With beer so widely and readily available, there is a lot of competition among producers to make their beer stand out.

In an effort to attract beer lovers, more and more grocery chains are starting to stock local and craft beer brands, plus beer alternatives like seltzer, cider, mead, and non-alcoholic brews. This has resulted in larger and more localized beer selections at many grocery chains. But whether you're a craft brew aficionado or a domestic sesher, one grocery chain stands above the rest for expertly curated beer sections in almost all of their locations — and it's not one you were expecting.

Whole Foods has the best selection of local beers

Not every Whole Foods has beer, but if your local one does, then you already know what we're talking about. The average Whole Foods beer section is a specialty store within a store, stocking a huge array of big brand names, like Budweiser and Corona, alongside national craft brands, like New Belgium Brewing and Sierra Nevada. The chain really does carry the best of the best beers. But its wide selection of local brews is definitely one of the things to buy at the stores.

The prevalence of local brands is what make the beer section at Whole Foods stand out from other national grocery chains. You can walk into any beer section at any Whole Foods in the country and get a sense of the local beer scene, just by looking at the rows of cans in the fridges. You'll find New England-style IPAs from Night Shift in suburban Boston Whole Foods, and Island Lager from Kona Brewing at the Maui Whole Foods in Hawaii. New York City Whole Foods locations carry a plethora of microbrewery options from all five boroughs. The curation of the Whole Foods beer sections enrich the local brewing industry by giving them shelf-space in a mainstream, popular store.

How to shop the Whole Foods beer section

Whether you're a tourist who wants to sample the regional offerings or a curious local trying to understand what all this buzz is about, your local Whole Foods can help you navigate your craft beer journey. All beer sections in Whole Foods are stocked and staffed by at least one dedicated employee, who is responsible for the area. That person probably knows a thing or two about local beers– it is their job, after all. Ask them for advice or recommendations if you don't know where to start. They can also direct you to food pairings that can be bought in the grocery section of the store.

To get a sampling of local beers, make sure you're buying a mix of brands and beer types. Try single cans from different companies — if single cans are available. Some locations will allow you to build a mix and match six-pack of different cans, so don't have to choose between IPAs or sours or lagers. Read the labels to see what sparks your fancy, and keep an eye out for what other shoppers are picking up. If a beer is flying off the shelves, there's a chance that it's considered pretty good.