- Southeastern Grocers opened a stand-alone liquor store under its Fresco y Más banner in Miami Wednesday morning, the supermarket chain announced this week.
- The store carries over 1,400 varieties of liquor, more than 500 wines and an assortment of rums, mixers, drinkware and other products.
- Southeastern’s decision to invest in the new store reflects rising interest among grocers in providing shoppers with convenient access to alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol sales received a substantial boost in 2020 as COVID-19 store closures and other restrictions forced people to stay home, and grocers have been working ever since to keep adult beverage revenue flowing in.
The arrival of the new Fresco y Más liquor location, at 3807 NW 7th St., follows the debut of Southeastern’s first store dedicated to alcohol in the summer of 2021. When that store opened, a Southeastern executive said the retailer would be gauging customer reaction but was already planning to expand the concept given brisk interest among shoppers in entertaining at home.
A study published last August by market research firm IRI provided evidence that alcohol remained a promising category for the grocery industry, in part because alcohol prices had remained stable even as prices for other types of goods went up amid the powerful inflation that marked 2022.
“Consumers are looking to indulge and create entertaining experiences at home, and retailers should emphasize premium products and products with unique attributes in this space,” Scott Scanlon, executive vice president of the beverage alcohol vertical for IRI, said in a press release about the research.
Rising restaurant prices have also provided an impetus for grocers to build their presence as liquor purveyors, although inflation data from late 2022 indicated that costs for eating out were outpaced by food-at-home inflation as the year wore on.
Other grocers that have increased their attention on alcohol in recent years include Hy-Vee, which in mid-2021 announced plans to roll out a new format known as Wall to Wall Wine and Spirits in Nebraska and Iowa. Food Lion also operates liquor stores that are separate from its standard supermarkets.
In some states, grocers interested in capitalizing on shopper interest in buying alcohol have had to contend with legal restrictions preventing them from carrying liquor.
Southeastern, which operates stores under the Winn Dixie and Harveys Supermarket banners as well as the Hispanic-focused Fresco y Más brand, had been planning to go public, but abandoned those plans in 2021. In late 2022, the company began exploring the possibility of selling itself, The Wall Street Journal reported.