Beer Beer Beer

Whole Foods Market Is Getting Its Own Brewing Company

Whole Foods Market hired Dave Ohmer to make beer for the grocer as it prepares to open a brewpub inside one of its newest stores.

The store, which will be located inside the BLVD Place building in Houston, opens November 6 and will contain a 40-seat brewpub with 20 beer taps and brewing tanks visible to customers from behind glass walls, reports the Houston Chronicle. The brewpub will operate separately from the grocery store under the name Whole Foods Market Brewing Company.

See Also: Whole Foods Seeking to Hire Its First Brewmaster

The brewpub will operate like any other, with beer brewed onsite and then sent to taps at the bar where customers can walk around with pints in their hands. Except this one will be located inside a grocery store, where a simple trip could turn into an hours-long errand at the bar.

Changes in Texas' beer laws that took effect last June allow for breweries to market and self distribute their product to retailers. The law changed to help the state's growing craft beer industry. (Take a hint, Florida!)

Whole Foods, which has had success in pushing a variety of craft beers for several years, is taking advantage of the new law by building its own in-store brewpub and hiring a brewmaster. Now it may be that Whole Foods brand beer could be found in its other locations across the country, or in other stores.

Even though breweries in Florida cannot self-distribute, for years they have been enjoying the privilege of selling their beer on premise in tap rooms - through a loophole about promoting Florida tourism originally created for Busch Gardens. Ironic, isn't it?

Gas stations and restaurants in the state are even taking advantage by installing growler systems (to-go tap beer) allowing customers to take fresh beer -- otherwise not found in bottles or cans -- home with them.

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David Minsky is U.S. Navy veteran and Tulane graduate who has experience reporting on stories from California, South Florida, and the Deep South. He also won some journalism awards. Email or tweet David with story tips and ideas.
Contact: David Minsky