Target Will Soon Let You Drink Alcohol While You Shop

As we all know, Target is amazing, and now it may be more so when it allows consumers to drink (alcohol) while shopping. In August, the chain applied for a liquor license for a store near Navy Pier in Streeterville (a fun area in Chicago on Lake Michigan), opening October 7.

“We sell liquor at a number of stores, but we currently don’t have any Target stores that serve liquor on site,” Angie Thompson, a store spokesperson, told Fortune. If the license goes through, it will be the first time Target will sell liquor to customers who are shopping to consume on-site (vs. buying alcohol to take home.)

target photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

Several grocery stores already do this—certain Whole Foods, Hy-vee, Wegmans, and Mariano’s stores—but it will be a first for the second-largest discount retailer in the country with 1799 stores in the U.S.

Personally, drinking a glass of wine while shopping for milk and bread is the last thing I want to be doing (especially during the day, and especially when I have to drive afterwards), but I understand the appeal it has for people.

Perhaps it takes the stress out of shopping or gives one the freedom to drink in the daytime.

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More so, some stores that serve alcohol in the store have cafes where you can sit and have a glass of wine with a friend, and even a cup holder in your shopping cart that’s the perfect place for a glass of wine (never mind coffee, that’s so yesterday.)

Forget meeting your girlfriends after work for a girls’ night. Now, you can just shop together, time management at its finest—errands and one-on-one catch-up time with your bestie over a glass of the store’s finest merlot (or chardonnay on a hot day). Who could ask for more?

The new store is “responding to local market conditions,” Thompson said. “Localization is a priority for us.” Similar to other sipping-while-while-shopping stores, Target said it plans to open more in-store cafes.

It also wants to start providing more organic and natural products.

Of course, earlier this summer, a Taco Bell (coincidentally, also in Chicago) started to serve alcohol, as well. And some Duane Reade stores have implemented bar areas, selling growlers to refill with craft beers.

This fall, Kroger is planning to expand its beer stations in certain stores, as well. “Wine and growler bars are a natural evolution for our adult beverage departments—by adding growlers, we are able to introduce our customers to new and emerging breweries that are only available on draft,” said Jason Milburn, Kroger’s national beer coordinator.

“Coming out of the recession, people are looking for affordable luxuries and more intimate experiences,” said Co-CEO of Whole Foods, Walter Robb, of the store testing an in-store cocktail bar back in 2011.

“For an upscale, fresh grocery store, it makes sense because you’re serving food and it’s more of a place where people go after work to socialize,”  said David J. Livingston, a Wisconsin supermarket research consultant. “Normally, the [grocery stores] that have bars have a food service alternative, like dinner selections.”

target wine photo
Flickr | bchow

So, is this new trend necessary? No. A fun idea? Yes. I can just imagine people now deciding to meet each other at Target for a quick drink or Duane Read for a new craft beer.

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Or maybe it’s one big marketing ploy and, the more shoppers drink, the more they will have the munchies and the more they will buy? But then—what’s next? And is it even safe to drink and drive one’s cart around the store, so to speak? 

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