If you’re looking to make your c-store a destination for beer purchases, and you have the space available, adding a beer cave can help your store maximize its sales potential.
Many customers today expect to find a beer cave when they enter a convenience store, but not all convenience stores offer beer caves and, especially smaller stores, can lack the space needed to add one.
Beer caves, essentially walk-in coolers used for stocking bulk packages of beer, provide space for a greater variety of product, and for storing larger packages of beer at a low temperature — perfect for immediate consumption.
That extra space allows for the inclusion of more than just the best-selling brands, as well as kegs and other cold beverages, leading to fewer out-of-stocks. The larger space for inventory also cuts down on labor hours needed for restocking, and helps unclutter the store’s aisles for freer customer access. They can also render a store a local destination for beer sales as it competes with locations with no cave.
Beer Caves’ Growing Appeal
As they have proliferated, beer caves, which once catered mostly to men, have gradually attracted a wider range of demographics, including women.
Indeed, the inclusion of the room itself impresses upon the consumer the tacit message that the retailer takes the beer category — and hence the beer drinker — seriously. As well they should: for all of 2021, according to IRI, beer sales in the convenience store channel totaled more than $24.2 billion, up 2.0% over the previous year.
The caves’ glass doors grab attention, letting customers view the selection and large quantities, and offer instant access. The in-unit shelving helps display rather than simply stack the various brands.
Coolers are generally set at 30 degrees to 38 degrees, as anything lower may freeze the unit’s coils. At the same time, the continuous opening and closing of the entrance will tend to raise the inside temperature and force the cooling mechanism to work harder, in turn raising energy bills.
Still, customers will know that if a c-store has a beer cave, they’re likely to find the variety they want at a cold temperature.