Monday, November 19, 2012

Is Price Chopper growling to grow?

As we drove past the Price Chopper on Route 9 in Latham the other day, Constant Companion and I discussed the planned changes to that location that the company hopes will turn it into a destination spot -- a dozen or so food mini-"restaurants," specialty departments, live cooking demos and classes, etc.

What hasn't been mentioned is the inclusion of something PC is trying in its Slingerlands store.

It's the Growler Station Express, an in-store place that serves up a range of craft tap beers, including Vermont's Switchback which it just added.

Kevin Schulke, Price Chopper's senior category manager for beer and wine (the latter can be sold in supermarkets located in more enlightened states than New York), emphasizes that the Slingerlands growler service is a test, but the parent Golub Corp. is hoping it is successful enough to roll out to other PC stores.

The process is simple. Buy a growler container ($4.99 for the 32-ouncer, $6.99 for the 64-ouncer), pay anywhere from $4.50 to $12 for the beer you chose, wait for an employee to fill your container, and away you go. Because the containers are reusable, you pay only for your refills on subsequent visits.

The Growler Station setup is supplied by the Shelton, CT, company of the same name. It has clients in New York City, Michigan, South Carolina, Georgia and Washington, DC. Its website offers an interesting history of the growler in America.

The company also offers a "Beer Wizard" app, priced at 99 cents. It allows the user to search a database by name of craft beer, food pairings, beer style, selections by ABV, color and bitterness and other features.

The Slingerlands Price Chopper is located at 1395 New Scotland. Phone: 478-0688.

Go here for the region's best local food & drinks events calendar.

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