Sampling Wines and Beers Where You’d Least Expect to Do So

Should wine tastings and beer samples be offered only at upscale grocery stores?

The nation’s largest retailer doesn’t think so.

Value-minded Walmart wants to offer samples of beer and wine to its customers throughout Ohio – and it has taken a giant step toward doing just that.

In the last two weeks of November, the Arkansas-based chain filed applications with the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control on behalf of 71 of its stores statewide for the license that would allow those stores to serve samples of beer and wine.

The wave of new filings touched every corner of the Buckeye state, in Walmart stores in small towns to large metropolitan areas.

The state has started its approval process. On Dec. 1, the state’s division of liquor control issued four such licenses to Walmart stories – two in Toledo, one in Heath, and one in Franklin, near Dayton — and was reviewing and processing the rest of the applications.

A spokesman for Walmart’s Ohio stores told the Dayton Daily News that Walmart applied for licenses so that its stores can offer customers throughout Ohio the opportunity to sample beers and wines as part of in-store product demonstrations.

“Walmart is hopeful to get approval by the end of the year or early 2018,” the spokesman said.

“While this is new to Walmarts in Ohio, it’s something that has been offered to customers in a handful of states, including Michigan,” the spokesman said. “Walmart has found that customers like this opportunity to shop and discover new products.”

Of course, many other large-scale grocers such as Kroger, Whole Foods, Giant Eagle, Trader Joe’s and others have such tasting licenses and put them to use frequently, some offering drop-in wine tastings and beer events in addition to special demonstration tastings.

And very soon, your local Walmart will be joining those establishments in offering wine and beer samples.

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