Walgreens’ Newest Offering: Big Flats, Small Cost

Posted by BeerMaven | Beer | Posted on February 17th

What can people love more than beer? Cheap beer, of course.  A brew is great on its own, but make it inexpensive and it becomes better tenfold.  Or is it? This is something to be proven by Big Flats 1901, the private label brew of Walgreens that started to be sold in the mid December 2010.

In a time when the prices of many consumer goods and products are skyrocketing, the cheap version of any consumer favorite is bound to be welcomed.  The suggested retail price of Big Flats 1901 for six-pack of cans is $2.99 while the 24-pack goes for $11.49.  When certified beer drinkers were asked if they would try the product, most of them responded in the affirmative.  However, while there are some who are willing, there are more people who are giving the newly released brew a cold shoulder.

It is natural for beer lovers to be hesitant about trying this kind of brew. Often, there is a catch when it comes to anything cheap.  After all, there is a reason why superior quality rare beers and microbrews are pricey.  In addition, the name of this budget-friendly beer is also getting the attention of critics.  People should know that the word “flat” in the name does not refer to the beer itself; the name of the beverage refers to the flat boats that traveled the rivers to deliver goods to early settlers in upstate New York.

Another reason why most consumers are skeptical about picking up the very affordable Big Flats 1901 is actually the chain of stores that carry the product.  Walgreens, a drugstore chain in the United States, halted its sale of alcohol in the 1990s.  It is said that the reason alcoholic beverages were pulled out from stock is because the chain seeks to promote health among consumers.  Fast forward to 2009, Walgreens again announces its plans to sell the beloved booze.

Big Flats 1901 is not the first low-cost beer in the market, but it is certainly the one making the most buzz right now.  The beer is owned, developed and distributed by Winery Exchange, a private-label alcohol company.  It is the same company that supplies low-cost beers to retailers such as Costco and Trader Joe’s.  Despite all the attention Big Flats 1901 is getting, it seems like Walgreens has no plans in making it totally accessible.  This is because the beer would only be sold in 60% of the chain’s stores.

So what is the verdict for Walgreens’ Big Flats 1901? Obviously, beer snobs would try to ignore this new product and purchase some other brew which they think is worth their money.  It is they who can differentiate a nice tasting lager from a high quality, well crafted beer.  As for the rest of beer drinkers out there, it would not hurt for them to try Big Flats.  The taste may not be the best compared to other brews out there, but the price is truly a winner.

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