- Giant Food Stores will open its third Heirloom Market in Philadelphia's Northern Liberties neighborhood on November 15, according to a company release. Giant’s other Heirloom Market locations are in Philadelphia’s University City and Graduate Hospital neighborhoods.
- The two-level, 13,000 square-foot store will feature Underground Taproom, a basement bar offering 40 craft beers, wines and hard seltzers. Similar to its previous stores, the location will also carry food from local stores like Isgro Pastries, Claudio Specialty Foods and One Village Coffee. Additional features include a DIY olive oil and vinegar blending station, gourmet cheese, sushi, and sampling stations.
- At Underground Taproom, customers can order a sample ounce of any beer or a full pour from a touch screen above the tap. All drinks are available to go. The space also has shuffleboard, arcade games, a Scrabble wall and free WiFi.
Tommy McClain, the new store's manager, said Urban Taproom is a response to the desire among neighborhood customers for a "third place away from home and work."
A grocery store bar likely isn't the first place urban consumers would consider for that third place. But Giant's hoping its wide beer selection, easy sampling, free WiFi and collection of games can counteract any initial reluctance. To entice would-be drinkers, Giant has even installed windows in the retail floor allowing customers to look down on the fun below.
Grocers have been adding bars to their stores for a few years now to tap into growing craft beer sales, and to encourage shoppers to spend more time in-store. Now, those hangouts seem to be evolving. Whole Foods recently opened a rooftop bar in Atlanta where shoppers can sip and play games like cornhole. In California, upscale grocer Gelson's Market lets customers chill out at the bar while an employee does all their shopping.
Looking at the numbers further explains why Giant is investing in this elevated drinking spot. Craft beer sales continue to grow, now making up 24% of the total U.S. beer market. According to BW166, in 2018 wine sales grew 5%, while hard Seltzer took the country by a storm last year and analysts predict the market could reach $2.5 billion by 2021.
These diverse offerings don't just attract craft beer enthusiasts and millennials but people of all age groups. It also drives in customers who may not have felt compelled to step foot in an Heirloom Market before.
The underground space is one of several new concepts Giant Food is ushering in with Heirloom Market, including digital ordering kiosks and a plant-based product section. It's all part of the retailer's effort to stay relevant in a fast-evolving industry.
"When you start asking yourself what does the customer want, it helps you make much better decisions," Paul Madarieta, director of growth initiatives at Giant Food Stores, recently told Grocery Dive. "And if the decision goes against the grain of what we normally would do in a traditional store then maybe the right thing to do is break that tradition. That is what we tried to do.