April 30, 2012

If Wine Is Not Unlike Toilet Paper to Costco, What is Beer?

Just a quick post about the buying practices of Costco from a segment on CNBC called, "The Costco Craze: Inside The Warehouse Giant". Behold this exchange between the host, Carl Quintanilla and Costco wine buyer, Annette Alvarez-Peters on wine's place as a product.
Alvarez-Peters: "Is it more special than clothing, is it more special than televisions? I don't think so."
CNBC's Carl Quintanilla: "Certainly it's different than toilet paper? Or different that tin foil?"
Alvarez-Peters: "Why?"
Quintanilla: "Because it's personal."
Alvarez-Peters: "People can look at it that way. But at the end of the day, it's a beverage."
It should be noted that Alvarez-Peters is responsible for over one billion dollars in sales though she did not appear in the Daily Meal's, "America's 30 Most Powerful People in Drink". As Eater points out, Alvarez-Peters heads a team of seventeen international and domestic buyers which sets the price of wines of smaller retailers across the country.

I've taken some flack for being skeptical of big box retailers and beer-centric restaurant concepts before because I think these places tend to treat beer as a commodity. Are places like Copper Blues, World of Beer, Thirsty Lion, Whole Foods, Total Wine and Bevmo more detrimental than beneficial? I don't have an answer. We see here what the effect of purchasing power in it's extreme with Costco. It makes you wonder about the hidden effects of larger places on the brands that they select.

See the CNBC segment here. The longer piece is actually at the bottom of this page.

Disclosure: I seldom, if ever, buy beer, wine or spirits from Costco. Coincidentally, I did just yesterday buy a brick of Kirkland select toilet paper.

Update: Hat tip to Jason Petros for the link and Beervana for making me aware of the Beverage Power Ranking.

No comments:

Post a Comment