Kroger to add craft-beer taps to 5 SW Ohio stores

Grocer also expands wine-tasting hours for select locations

Kroger will add beer taps to five of its southwest Ohio stores in the coming months, and more are on the way, Kroger officials said last week.

Craft beer and wine have become an increasingly important part of grocery store sales in recent years, prompting several competitors in the region to expand their selections and to add beer taps so they can offer draft beer for sale in re-sealable glass containers known as “growlers.”

All three Dorothy Lane Market stores, the Washington Twp. Arrow Wine & Spirits store, and Jungle Jim’s International Market are among the retailers that have added craft beer taps. The Whole Foods Market that is scheduled to open June 3 in Washington Twp. will feature a pub and growler-refill craft beer station.

The new Kroger craft-beer taps will accommodate “growler” refills, and plans call for the taps to be in place by the end of August, according to Patty Leesemann, public affairs manager for Kroger’s Cincinnati-Dayton division. The number of taps will vary by store, but most will have 10 to 12, which will be stocked with local, regional and national brews, Leesemann said.

The five initial Kroger stores to offer craft beer on tap in southwest Ohio will be the Austin Landing location off Ohio 741 in Miami Twp.; the Kettering “Fresh Fare” store at East Stroop and Shroyer roads; the Centerville Marketplace store on Ohio 48; and stores in Harper’s Point and Anderson Towne Center in the Cincinnati area, Leesemann said. The Austin Landing store also has added beer tastings from 4 to 6 p.m. every day, the Kroger spokeswoman said.

Kroger also is offering wine enthusiasts something to toast. The Cincinnati-based grocery chain has expanded its wine-tasting program at three Dayton-area locations so that customers of those stores can sample wines every day from 6 to 8 p.m. The stores with the expanded wine-tasting hours include Austin Landing, Kettering Fresh Fare and Centerville, Leesemann said. At selected other Kroger stores, including the Hamilton-Middletown and Liberty Center locations, wine tastings are typically offered on Fridays from 5 and 8 p.m.; Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. or 5 to 8 p.m.; and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

Grocery stores are battling for market share throughout the region, especially in southern Montgomery County and northern Warren County — home to multiple Kroger and Meijer stores, all three Dorothy Lane Market stores, Sam’s Club, Earth Fare, Trader Joe’s, Costco Wholesale and a relatively new entrant, Fresh Thyme Markets, all to be joined next week by Whole Foods Market.

The competition for the loyalty and dollars of thirsty craft-beer enthusiasts isn’t limited to grocery stores. Chappys opened a beer-centric pub and restaurant — its second location — in Washington Twp. last week. And Ollie’s Place, a beer-and-bourbon bar, full-service restaurant and retail store, is poised to open in the coming weeks, also in Washington Twp. In Beavercreek, the World of Beer chain of beer-themed restaurants recently signed a lease for a new location at the Greene Town Center in Beavercreek.