Instead of going out to drink during the pandemic, Americans are buying more alcohol from grocery stores and retailers to consume at home. Wine sales at places that aren't bars or restaurants, called "off-premise dollar sales," were up 16.6% in early July, according to Nielsen data.
Same goes for hard seltzer, says Nick Johnson, an equity analyst at Morningstar. Overall, he says, "Consumers are going to be reticent to go and congregate in bars, so the occasions for drinking are shifting to the home."
That's why more grocery and big box stores, including Walmart, are investing in affordable wines.
"Off-premise retailers like Kroger and Walmart are seeing an opportunity to merchandise more aggressively with alcohol," Johnson says.
Walmart launched its private label wines, Winemakers Selection, in 2018. The collection featured wines that were priced at $10-$15 a bottle, according to industry site Grocery Dive. In light of Covid-19, however, the company decided to pare down the options and make them cheaper.
Now the private label will sell five wines, all priced at $5.
Walmart is not the only big box retailer to try selling budget wine. Trader Joe's is famous for its Charles Shaw wines, known as Two Buck Chuck, though it actually goes for $2.99. Target has its own private label wine called California Roots, which is $5 per bottle. And Costco sells a 12-pack of its private label Kirkland rose for $119.99, which comes out to $10 per bottle.
Other supermarkets are slashing prices to make their alcohol even more affordable: Kroger's own private label, Parker's Estate, is on sale for $9.99 per bottle, about $5 off the regular price.
Buying in bulk can often save you money. So if you're looking to stock up on wine, here are some tips for saving money.
- Look for savings codes. Walmart, for example, is offering $10 off your first grocery delivery order of $50 or more with the code WOWFRESH. If you haven't ordered from Walmart.com before, you can take advantage of this deal.
- In some states, Costco is required to sell you alcohol even if you don't have a membership. This means you can get a four-pack of Cavaliere d'Oro Red Wine for $60 without the additional $60-a-year membership.
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