7 Grocery Chains With the Best Beer & Wine Selection
Many supermarkets aim to provide a one-stop-shopping experience for customers, selling everything from kitchen staples to beauty products. That vast array of goods sometimes also extends to adult beverages.
The rules regarding alcohol sales in grocery stores vary greatly state by state. Some states don't allow it at all. Some allow only beer or wine sales. Others permit alcohol only in select locations.
Considering the patchwork of regulations, it may seem surprising that so many national grocery chains even make the effort, but that just shows you how popular and lucrative that alcoholic beverages can can be.
Many grocers not only offer these products, but some excel at it, rolling out a wide assortment of beverages, some of which even become signature items.
Here are seven major grocery chains with a top-notch selection of beer, wine, and, sometimes, even spirits.
Trader Joe's is home to perhaps the most famous supermarket wine of all time: Charles Shaw, aka "Two Buck Chuck," but the notoriously cheap California cabernet is hardly the only draw. The popular specialty retailer offers a big selection of other affordable wines and beer, too, across 17 states and Washington, D.C. (liquor is also available in 12 of them), according to Simple Grocery Deals. Customer favorites include its house brand of canned Simpler Wines, three-liter boxed Block Rosé, and Josephsbrau Bavarian Style Hefeweizen beer.
Costco has always been known for its bargain deals and alcoholic beverages are no exception. Nearly 500 Costco locations sell beer, over 450 sell wine, and more than 300 sell liquor, according to Market Watch. While the warehouse stocks many name brands, its house brand Kirkland Signature gets a lot of attention for its low-cost varieties of beer, wine, and spirits.
Wine Turtle rated the 2019 Kirkland Signature Suscol Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon as the retailer's best wine offering, while Draft Magazine picked the 24-can Kirkland Variety Pack as the "best combination of beers sold at Costco" and "at a price you simply can't refuse." The popularity of Kirkland-brand spirits even inspired a viral TikTok series, "Can it Kirkland," where contestants compare the house-brand liquors to their brand-name counterparts.
It's easy to forget that the popular department store is not only one of America's largest food retailers, but it also sells alcohol, too. Stores in 29 states carry beer, wine, and other alcoholic drinks, according to USA Today. Customers' top-rated wines include Kim Crawford's Illuminate Rosé, Josh Pinot Grigio, and La Marca Prosecco (all under $15). Target's beer selection is also pretty expansive, ranging from big domestic brands and popular imports to smaller craft brews, too. The grocery chain's alcohol selection varies state by state, so make sure to check with your local store before planning your next party.
America's largest grocery store is also the nation's No. 1 place to buy beer, wine and spirits, according to 2021 shopper survey by Chase Design. Think you're too good for wines from Walmart? A James Beard Award-winning sommelier picked out 11 "totally decent" bottles at her local Walmart for Epicurious back in 2017. The retail giant has been expanding its selection in recent years to include more seasonal beers, hard seltzers, and more premium wines and spirits, according to Business Insider. Currently, you can order alcoholic beverages from the supermarket's website in 29 states, but you can also check on My Local Store to find out what specific brands your local Walmart offers.
You may have heard about Publix Pours, the program that allows shoppers to drink wine and beer while they shop at certain locations of the popular Southern grocery chain. Clearly, this is a supermarket that caters to fans of adult beverages. The retailer even has its own Publix Premium wine label. According to the Krazy Coupon Lady, the private label wines include three varietals all made from California grapes and bottled by the same company that produces big-name brands like Franzia and Cupcakes Vineyards. The blog Learning to Home Brew adds that Publix also offers a good selection of regional craft beer brands like Tampa's Cigar City.
For the budget shopper, Aldi wines are tough to beat. According to Eating Well, 90% of the store's entire selection costs less than $10. Winking Owl is the discount chain's own house brand, reportedly made by major California producer E&J Gallo and sold for under $5 per bottle. The brand's Pinot Grigio even won a silver medal from the Beverage Tasting Institute in 2013. More recently, consumers picked the Aldi-exclusive Peaks and Tides Pinot Noir, priced at $12.99, as best alcoholic beverage during 2022 Product of The Year Awards. Aldi also carries an exclusive line of 12 house beers, with Thrillist rating the Wernesfrüner pilsner as its top pick.
Whole Foods is a popular spot for beer enthusiasts. On its website, the national retailer claims to employ over 500 certified beer experts and boasts a big selection of local and hard-to-find brews. In its home state of Texas, the grocery chain even sells its own line of canned craft beers including a hazy IPA, double IPA, and a pale ale, according to the Dallas Morning News. Shoppers on Reddit note that some locations allow you to "make your own six pack," mixing and matching from various bottles and cans.
As for wine, Whole Foods divides its selection into 0ld-world and new-world options. According to its website, you can find the "best value" in the $12 to $25 range.