Gall & Gall introduces 'pick-and-mix' merchandising concept for specialty beers

Specialty, craft beers have grown in popularity in the United States

AMSTERDAM — A liquor store chain owned by Netherlands-based Royal Ahold has introduced a "pick-and-mix" concept for specialty beers.

Gall & Gall, which operates stores across the Netherlands, is making all specialty beers available individually by the bottle while adding 30 new products and allowing customers to buy six bottles for the price of five. Beers are grouped according to flavor category, such as blonde, dubbel, dark, triple and "other special."

Gall & Gall parent company Ahold also owns the Stop & Shop, Giant Food of Landover, Md., and Giant Food Stores of Carlisle, Pa., supermarket chains and the Peapod grocery delivery service in the United States.

Specialty beers are common throughout Europe, which has many breweries that have been in operation since the Middle Ages. But they have grown in importance in the United States market as well, particularly craft beers made by small, regional breweries. According to the Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo.-based trade group for craft brewers, growth in craft beers was 15% by volume and 17% by dollars, compared with 13% by volume and 15% by dollars in 2011. As of the middle of March 2013, the group was aware of 409 brewery openings in 2012, and there were more than 2,300 craft breweries operating around the country last year. The group also found that imported beer sales grew by 1% in 2011 and 2012, and 2012 beer sales were equal to more than 200 million 31-gallon barrels, including more than 27.7 million barrels of imported beer.

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