Is Craft Beer a Niche Market for You?


By design, your convenience store is a store for the masses. While you may not have everything someone needs, you most likely have something for everyone. Most stores also have products and services that target a smaller market. These are called “niche” offerings. For example, not everyone plays the lotto and not everyone wants to buy tobacco products. These are niche markets for your store, and the customers they attract have the potential to be some of your most loyal.

Another benefit to going after niche markets is that their small scope gives you flexibility to experiment without taking on too much risk. Craft beer is a good example. Its surge in popularity presents an opportunity for convenience stores to attract a new – and profitable – niche market. What do you need to know to make craft beers a profit center for your convenience store?

Know Your Neighborhood

Craft breweries and taprooms are neighborhood mainstays. They tend to attract a very loyal following, especially among customers who live or work in their immediate area. When in-person gatherings were limited, local breweries scrambled to find ways to keep their brands alive and growing. Distribution was key to their survival, and it still is. Your store’s location and customer base can be a lifeline for breweries. Likewise, the brewery’s existing followers will seek out places to find their favorite brew and try new craft brew varieties. When you partner with and support a well-known local brewery, this also elevates your position as a business dedicated to helping your community thrive.

Know Your Customer

One thing to consider when evaluating any niche market is the type of customers the products will attract. With craft brews, there is no downside. The typical craft beer consumer is young and affluent. They’re willing to spend more for the right beer, and they’re also willing to throw some complementary items in their basket while they’re shopping. Many are also health-conscious, which gives you the perfect opportunity to highlight your fresh food options and healthy snack products.

Know Your Beer

The most popular craft beer is the IPA, with new variations coming on the market all the time. Lighter lagers, as well as hard seltzers, are also popular within this niche market. Customers visiting your store to purchase craft beer are not the same as beer customers who are looking for a good price on a 12-pack of more traditional beer. Craft brew customers are interested in the details, and they’re looking for you to provide it. Merchandise your craft beer with information about where and how it’s brewed, its alcohol volume, and its dominant flavors and aromas. Quality and craftsmanship far outweigh price for typical craft brew customers.

Know Your Responsibility

There’s no doubt that promoting and selling craft brews is full of opportunities for convenience stores to expand their market base and increase in-store sales. As with the sale of any age-restricted product, you and your employees have an obligation to sell alcohol responsibly. Make sure your staff knows the alcohol laws in your state and the personal liability they can face if they don’t follow those laws. Train them how to check ID properly and how to spot fake IDs. When you and your embrace the niche craft brew market, you’ll all benefit from an increase in traffic and a boost in profits.

Responsible Alcohol Sales Training

Online training is a fast and effective way to make sure your staff follows the law to sell alcohol responsibly. Our Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service training covers all the essentials of responsible alcohol sales and includes real-world scenarios to reinforce key learning points. State specific versions are also available, including recent releases for California and Florida.

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