Retailers in Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas will soon be able to sell full-strength beer—are you ready?

Convenience Store Beer Vendor Display

Between now and April 2019, three states—Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas—will expand beer licenses to allow convenience and grocery retailers to sell full-strength beer (also referred to as full-point and high beer). Our friends at CSP recently interviewed iSee’s CEO Joe Vonder Haar and other beverage contacts about the massive economic impact these laws will have (read the full story here).

“In Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado, what you are seeing is a comprehensive beer renaissance taking shape,” Joe told CSP. Here are five pointers for retailers looking to benefit from full-strength beer expansion:

1. Get Your Paperwork in Order

“It is vital that anybody who plans to carry any alcohol begin the licensing process as soon as possible to avoid wait times,” Candace McGinnis, executive director of the Oklahoma Petroleum Marketers and Convenience-Store Association told CSP. The current wait time in Oklahoma is 60-90 days, a figure that will greatly increase as the October expansion approaches. In addition to licenses, retailers are also required to have their employees complete an online training course in order to sell full-strength beer.

2. Plan Ahead

In addition to licenses and training, Joe encourages retailers to get a head start on planning how all these new beer SKUs will fit into store sets.  “This market share is all new—it’s not just new business, but it’s new share,” he says. “Look to add coolers while avoiding knocking down walls. Take advantage of underutilized cold space.” That means looking creating additional space in the cold vault (like utilizing our Displayloc line) and adding remote cold merchandising options in other areas of the store with products like our beverage chillers.

3. Look at Full-Strength Markets for Inspiration

“We’ve begun looking at new brands and have toured some Missouri stores to get a sense of their beer departments,” Thomas Miller, director of operations for Topeka, Kan.-based Haag Oil Co., told CSP. “We’ll run numbers about how much more we project to sell, and how much more space to allot. If we don’t have room for walk-in cooler space, we’ll bring in satellite coolers.”

4. Profit Off Single-Serve

The full-strength expansion doesn’t just open up new brands for retailers, but new, higher-profit product sizes as well. “With full-strength beers, there’s a chance for us to sell a significant volume of 24-ounce cans, which is new for us because with 3.2% it’s been all about six- and 12-pack sales,” Miller says.

Singles are a huge opportunity for retailers in Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma to profit off a category already associated with convenience, Joe adds. “C-stores own the single beer business—it’s part of their customers’ daily routine.”

5. Master Suggestive Selling

Lastly, Joe suggests retailers utilize “positive interruption points” with display and awareness throughout the store vs. only marketing full-strength beer in the cold vault. These interruption points can also be used to educate consumers that full-strength beer is—or soon will be—available at that retail location. iSee’s beverage chillers and signage solutions are a great option for retailers looking to do just that!