- Giant Eagle has launched BeerVan.com, a service that will deliver beer to shoppers in two hours or less in six Pittsburgh area zip codes, according to a company press release.
- Shoppers can choose from an assortment of more than 150 domestic, craft and imported beers, and prices will be the same both online and in-store. Each transaction will be limited to 192 ounces of beer or less.
- The service is available Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and each order will include a $4.99 delivery fee. Payments can only be made through PayPal.
The race is on for alcohol delivery as retailers recognize shopper demand for convenient access to beer, wine and liquor. Entering the burgeoning field has become more important than ever as shoppers increasingly move their grocery spending online.
First there was H-E-B’s alcohol delivery blitz last July. In September, Meijer expanded its beer and wine delivery with Shipt to Ohio. Then Kroger moved into wine delivery in 14 states, and most recently, Instacart extended alcohol delivery to reach 14 states and the District of Columbia, working with retail partners such as Albertsons, Publix and Schnucks.
Now, Giant Eagle’s BeerVan will gauge the appetite for beer delivery service in Pittsburgh. Giant Eagle’s approach is unique because the grocer is not using a third-party service or partner for logistics or fulfillment. The service will operate out of Giant Eagle’s Shadyside Market District location and Giant Eagle will fulfill all orders placed on BeerVan.com.
Pennsylvania is particularly conservative when it comes to liquor laws. The state only recently began permitting the sale of alcoholic beverages on a wider scale at grocery stores, gas stations and liquor stores. In 2016, Giant Eagle became the first supermarket in Pennsylvania to sell wine since prohibition.
Despite strict regulations, state and local laws don't seem to apply to alcohol delivery. Instacart began shipping alcohol in Philadelphia in 2014, and direct-to-consumer alcohol delivery company Drizly also operates in Pennsylvania. As delivery services began to pick up traction a few years ago, Bustle discovered that beer delivery was legal in the state.
Given the loophole, Giant Eagle will have plenty of competition, but its approach to pilot service from one supermarket location could help the grocer streamline operations and refine its process for future expansion. Customers may prefer to have delivery from their local grocer over a larger company such as Amazon if it’s available, and as more retailers look to get into alcohol delivery, which drives higher profit margins, companies will likely take creative approaches to win customer dollars.
Although U.S. beer sales were down 1% in 2018, craft beer sales grew at a rate of 4% by volume, making up 13.2% of the total U.S. beer market by volume, according to the National Brewers Association. Giant Eagle's decision to focus on beer gives it the ability to hone in on a specific sector of alcohol that has overall positive projections for the next few years, setting the retailer up for success.
Outside of beer delivery, Giant Eagle has recently made efforts to improve its offerings for shoppers. The grocer is currently piloting shelf-scanning robots in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and also expanded its rewards program last month to offer better fuel rewards.