"In the face of commodity, we've replaced all of the nuance of goods with marketing."
The Fingers interview with Benjamin Lorr on 'The Secret Life of Groceries,' the fearsome power of commodity, and more
In the national imagination, we drink our beer from brewery taprooms, our wine at classy restaurants, and our spirits at bars with well-worn stools or clubs with crushed-velvet banquettes. And sometimes, of course, we do drink in those places, known collectively to the industry as “on-premise” sellers. But when it comes to selling booze at volume in America, off-premise retailers have been the dominant source of our national inebriation for a long time—and chief among them, the wide-aisled, anodyne, and unremarkable supermarket
It’s a trend that the coronavirus pandemic has very much amplified. “Grocers have gotten a pleasant buzz from beverage alcohol sales over the last few years, and the pandemic has only kept growth pouring into the category,” reported Catherine Douglas Moran for Grocery Dive, a trade publication. This is putting it mildly. If supermarkets were catching a pleasant buzz off booze sales before, the pandemic turned them full-blown, pants-pissing drunkards.