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09/22/2021

Talking alcoholic, nonalcoholic beverage trends

Panelists from Casey’s, Walgreens, Rouses Markets and The Giant Company headline sessions at the Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Rounding out the second half of education at the Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages are panels on alcoholic drink trends and nonalcoholic drinks — two areas strong in private brand innovation.

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Private brand wine sales have been steadily increasing, per IWSR Drinks Market Analysis data. Consumption of private label wines rose 9% in the United States from 2014 to 2018, and another 6.2% in 2019, while branded wine consumption remained essentially flat during that period. Nielsen data showed private label brands accounted for 3.12% of all wine sales at mass merchants, convenience and liquor stores for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 2.

The alcohol category can also be a playful one with inspired craft beer flavors, like regional convenience chain Wawa consistently does. Albertsons, Aldi, BJ’s Wholesale, Costco, Trader Joe’s and more have innovated in the spirits category, too.

Panelists for the alcohol session at the forum on Sept. 29 include:

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Darla Reig, director of DSD, beer, wine and ethnic, The Giant Company. Rieg has been in the position since March 2020. Since joining The Giant Company in 2011, she has served in various roles across the merchandising department including analyst, manager of negotiation strategy and category manager. Rieg’s leadership has been especially essential over the past few weeks as she works with her team to stock store shelves for customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Clarion University and an MBA from Penn State University.

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Julie Joy, director of beer, wine and spirits, Rouses Markets. Specializing in innovation, Joy has developed several private label brands and launched several national brands in the Industry. Originally from Chicago, graduating from Columbia College in Chicago, Joy had resided in several states before settling in the great state of Louisiana, where she enjoys the Southern Charm.

For the nonalcoholic category, home to innovation in sparkling waters, sodas and juice, especially in the single-serve convenience store market, panelists hail from leaders of convenience:

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Erin Butler, private brand manager, Casey’s. A convenience store chain with more than 2,300 stores. Bulter started at Casey’s in 2020 and has helped launch more than 130 new items, 45 of those being in nonalcoholic packaged beverages. The retailer has recently overhauled its private label offerings, particularly in water, juice and soda. With over 10 years of brand building experience, Butler leads Casey’s private label new product development efforts for packaged beverages, snacks, frozen, refrigerated and dairy.

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Dale Johnson, senior director, divisional merchandise manager for consumables, Walgreens. Johnson recently stepped into the new position overseeing a larger consumables division but previously served directly in beverages. He also partners with suppliers of all sizes across the world to develop strategic business solutions that are focused on best-in-class business offers for the customers he serves. Johnson prides himself in being the first contact for suppliers looking for true partnerships that focus on mutual business growth, centered on addressing all aspects of consumer needs. His largest source of pride is centered on his leadership in people development, motivating and seeing the development of his team.

To register for the Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages visit here.