Walgreens To Sell Their Own Brand Of Beer For Under $.50/Can

If its decision to start selling groceries wasn’t enough of a sign that Walgreens is trying to shake up its image and reach a new audience, now comes news that the drugstore chain has begun selling its own private-label beer.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Walgreens has been rolling out the beer, called Big Flats 1901, in more than 4,600 of its 7,655 U.S. locations.

Since private-label booze is rarely purchased because of superior taste, Walgreens is selling the suds cheap, around $3 for a six-pack and around $11.50 for a case of 24 cans.

“In this tough economy, consumers are looking for value and ways to make their money go (further),” a Walgreens rep told the Tribune. “Big Flats 1901 offers our customers a premium lager at a great price.”

In case you’re curious, Big Flats 1901 (which won’t win any awards for its name) is made by Winery Exchange, which also provides private-label adult beverages for Costco Wholesale and Trader Joe’s.

Walgreens selling its own private-label beer [ChicagoBreakingNews.com]


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  1. deadandy says:

    I was just at a Walgreen’s in Phoenix and saw probably 50-100 cases of it in different stacks in the middle of aisles. I just looked askance at it and kept walking.

  2. Chmeeee says:

    The slogan on the bottom of the can says “It’s the water that makes it.” Is that code word for “This beer tastes like water?”

    At that price, I’d have to guess yes.

  3. pop top says:

    This may end up being the new PBR. It’s cheap, probably tastes like beer-flavored water and you can say you’re drinking it even more ironically since it’s a pharmacy store beer.

    • egoods says:

      I hate that PBR is a “hipster” beer… I drink it because it’s a beer like substance, and it cost $3.25 for a six pack of pounders at my local dive bar (I live in PA, you either buy carry out beer from the bar or go to a beer distributor). I also have a deep love for Guinness and Sam Adams, but both are waaaay more expensive, and I gotta budget!

      • Quake 'n' Shake says:

        I don’t care if the hipsters have laid claim to PBR. I drank it before those clowns came along, I’ll drink it long after they’ve gone the way of greasers and hippies. What they have done is made it more available. I find it in more super markets and bars than it was 10 years ago.

        • hobochangbar says:

          Agreed, PBR is the best of the cheapest. If I ever win the lottery it’ll be Sam Smith aplenty. But until then PBR for thirst with the oatmeal stout for special occasions.

          • tooluser says:

            I used to be able to get Pabst Blue Ribbon in brown bottles for $1.69 a six-pack at the grocery store. But that was in the mid-90’s, before grocery stores started systematically removing value from their products.

      • XxSuntoucherxX says:

        True the hipsters killed it, but I just moved onto to another “niche” beer. Have you ever tried National Bohemian? (Natty Boh) for short.

    • jesusofcool says:

      Yeah I know a bunch of college students who will drink this. And actually, the Trader Joe’s label beers aren’t too shabby, so it may actually taste better than beer flavored water if it’s the same manufacturer.

  4. TheReij says:

    In my town, they’re placing sinage up that indicates it’s made by the brewers of Guinsess, Diageo. It was $2.00/six. I am seriously considering making a small investment in it.

    • TheReij says:

      *Guinness. I hate myself for misspelling that.

      I had to look up misspell to make sure I spelled it correctly.


    • BuddhaLite says:

      For that price you’re not buying it your renting it.

      • pdj79 says:

        At ANY price you’re still only renting it. And if you “break the seal” early you’re rental time will be drastically reduced.

    • MaximusMMIV says:

      It’s not being made by Guinness. It’s being made by Genesee Brewing Company. They’re probably most famous for their pseudo-microbrew line, Dundee.


    • varro says:

      Contract brewing is common; when I worked for Pittsburgh Brewing (Iron City), we made Sam Adams products.

      I got a case of Sam Adams hefeweizen for $6 a case because the labels were unacceptable.

      • hobochangbar says:

        I discovered that Harp I got stateside was no longer from Ireland when I got one with a Moosehead cap. Label still says “Imported” but fine print says brewed in Canada. Funny thing is I found the taste of it somewhat off for a while before becoming aware of it. I’m usually one to not knock contract brewing but my own blind taste test showed otherwise.

        As for Pittsburgh Brewing, “Old German, is a very very very good beer. At a very very very good price”!

        $3.99/case loss leader at the central PA distributors. Many a hungover high school day cause by that swill. (Mid 1980’s)

  5. danmac says:

    Awesome…I know that the beer snobs will criticize me for this, but depending on my mood and budget, I don’t mind buying cheap beer to drink after I’ve consumed a six-pack of the good stuff.

    And for the record, when I say “good stuff”, I mean Dead Guy Ale, Lagunitas IPA, Untouchable Pale Ale…beers like that.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      Also, if I’m already past a certain degree of drunkenness, I’d drink anything.

      You won’t catch me making it to a buzz on the cheap stuff if it tastes like swill.

      • danmac says:

        Yes, this is what I mean…when I start drinking, a nice, hoppy Pale Ale is just what I want…when I’ve already consumed enough good beer to kill my taste buds and give me a buzz, I’m not too proud to crack open a Coors.

    • FatLynn says:

      I think that cheap beer has its time and place. For example, 16″ softball games.

    • hobochangbar says:

      As Doc Ricketts said in Cannery Row, “First one’s for thirst, second ones for taste”*

      *Does not apply to beer milkshakes.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    I wonder what the alcohol content is? It would truly bring back some fond college memories.

  7. Arcaeris says:

    Great, now when I go over my closet-hipster-in-denial friend’s house, he’ll follow “Hey, I heard you’re like really into beer…” with, “Here’s a Big Flats 1901,” instead of “Here’s a PBR.” UGH.

    I’ll still drink it out of politeness.

    • varro says:

      Why do hipsters drink PBR? It’s not obscure; in fact, it’s made by the fourth-largest brewing company in the U.S.

  8. Hi_Hello says:

    50 cent a can?! that’s cheaper than a bottle of water. If I need something to drink and I’m at walgreen, I’ll pick one up and I don’t even drink.

  9. sir_eccles says:

    5 seconds of Google research:


  10. RavenWarrior says:

    I can imagine Al Bundy and the NO MA’AM gang doing their collective spit take with this. At least the name is better than ‘Yeast ‘N Stuff.’

  11. RandomHookup says:

    Perhaps they can put up ads next to it reminding customers to renew their Antabuse prescription.

  12. skwigger says:

    I saw a guy purchase this just the other day.

  13. OnefinFinn says:

    This might be the start of Walgreens’ attempt at vertical intergration with its house brand of Bismuth.

  14. jrembold says:

    I have it in my fridge now from when I bought a couple of weeks ago and it is horrible.

  15. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    big flat beer. big fat deal.

  16. ReaperRob says:

    At that price, you’re only getting a beer rental not a purchase.

  17. NoDavidOnlyZuul says:

    My sister bought me a six pack for Christmas as a joke. I was explaining to her about how it was “Cheap Beer of the Week” in the Football Jambaroo on Deadspin.

  18. Grogey says:

    I know it will taste horrible but I still want to try it…

  19. duncanblackthorne says:

    Awesome, just what America needs: more empty calories for fatties to get fatter with, and cheap, cheap alcohol for the functional alcoholics to continue destroying their livers with. How can a PHARMACY CHAIN do something like this and still be able to look at themselves in the mirror in the morning?

    • hobochangbar says:

      Walgreens made it big selling “medicinal alcohol” during prohibition.
      I asked a clerk once if they sold alcohol and they quite judgmentally told me that the Walgreens do not condone such vices. I then asked where the cigarettes and rolling papers were. They sheepishly pointed me to the tobacco aisle.

    • Southern says:

      Let me guess, you’d make it a law that no one in America was allowed to be fat if you could, wouldn’t you? (Read through a few of your back posts – you seem to have a real hardon for fat people.)

    • varro says:

      Stuffs duncanblackthorne’s scrawny gob with a Double Down for the use of “fatties”.

    • RiverStyX says:

      Money, duh. MNC’s dont “look at themselves in the morning”, they are the morning! And the afternoon, and the night!

  20. nutbastard says:

    No go when I can get a 24 of tried and true PBR from Smart and Final for $11.49…

  21. Press1forDialTone says:

    Booze in drug stores has always rubbed me the wrong way.
    Isn’t a drug store supposed to be a place where you can buy
    things that help you be/get healthy. Booze in any quantity isn’t
    on that list.

    • lihtox says:

      Walgreens already sells candy, soda, prepackaged baked goods filled with transfats… is this really a big jump?

      And I don’t drink beer myself, but isn’t “flat” a bad word to have associated with your beer?

    • Firethorn says:

      Ah, you must not have seen the studies that say that something like 1 drink a day is actually healthier than just not drinking.

      Wine is better than Beer, from the studies I’ve seen, but there’s still positive benefits to the beer. Maybe not THIS beer, but beer in general.

    • varro says:

      Uh…like the Extenze in the vitamin aisle?

      “Where can we get more placebos?”

  22. sirwired says:

    Under 50 cents a can isn’t that much of a feat. My local grocery store sells Milwaukee’s Best / Ice, Natural Light / Ice, Miller High LIfe, PBR, and Schlitz for that price.

  23. nopirates says:

    i saw this stuff during a recent visit to florida.

    i almost bought a 6 pack… ALMOST

  24. ovalseven says:

    I’ve tried it. It’s not that good.

    Considering that you can get a 12 pack of better cheap beer like Busch or Milwaukee’s Best for 7$, you’re better off spending the extra buck.

  25. RxDude says:

    A new beer for hashing!

  26. TheGreySpectre says:

    At least according to beer advocate it’s not any worse then any other mass produced lager. It has a better rating then Budweiser, Coors and the same rating as PBR.

    Not saying I would drink it, but I rarely drink beer anyways and when I do I pretty much only drink really dark beers like stouts and porters.

  27. Mamudoon says:

    *Offer not valid in Pennsylvania.

    I remember being stunned when I visited friends in other states and saw that they could buy booze at the supermarket or 7-11. Good ol’ PLCB.

    • hobochangbar says:

      I still have my PLCB photo ID from way back when. Well my brother’s, who except for having blue eyes looked just like me. Traded him a car stereo for it. Only time the eyes gave me away was when I didn’t take my sunglasses off when pulling into a drive thru distributor. Guy said take off the glasses, as he looked back up & took the card back & said, “Good day sir”.

  28. varro says:

    It’s already in Walgreens in Washington and Oregon, and selling for $2.99 + tax in Washington and $2.99 + 30 cents deposit in Oregon for a six-pack.

    Didn’t try it, although the house brand beer from Trader Joe’s is decent.

    • zappo says:

      Trader Joe’s also has a $2.99 a six pack beer, Simpler Times, which is 6.+% ABV and pretty tasty for that price. Their house brands, like the Vienna Lager are good, but are more expensive, like $5+ a 6 pack. I haven’t seen this Walgreen’s beer yet, but would give a 6 pack a try at that price.

  29. NotEd says:

    I tried some of the in house Trader Joes and Costco Beers and wines. AFAIR they were all of fairly good quality and I would consider buying them again.
    If Winery Exchange provides the same quality product to Walgreens I would certainly consider trying it.

  30. sasquatch28 says:

    lol this is too funny.I grew up in Big Flats, NY.

  31. ovalseven says:

    What’s next for Walgreens? Big Stales potato chips?

  32. shepd says:

    I am embarassed to live in Ontario, Canada again. Old Milwaukee (aka “Colon Cleanse”) sells for $28 a case here. This stuff would probably be $30 a case.

    • Papa Bear says:

      Whether you like it or not, Old Milwaukee is a consistent top beer in many blind tasting competitions.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      I’ve had Old Milwaukee bottles once and it was actually decent in my opinion. It wasn’t available where I was in school, so I never had it after.

    • ovalseven says:

      Sure. But unlike us, you don’t have to cross the border for a Molson Brador.

  33. davidsco says:

    OH yea, THAT’LL taste good. And you though Bud tastes like urine…

  34. BurtReynolds says:

    Is it better than Golden Anniversary though? I remember that being a much better value.

  35. Kate says:

    I’m surprised no one commented on the bad name. Who wants to buy Big Flat Beer?

  36. shthar says:

    3.2 or 5?

  37. PercyChuggs Was Found At JFK Airport says:

    Why is obesity always brought up in ANY food related Consumerist article, yet very few people fail to mention alcoholism in this story. I guess it’s worse for someone to get fat and hurt themselves, than it is for someone to get drunk, hop in their truck, and kill a car full of people?

  38. BoneThugg77 says:

    Big Farts 1901 = thermonuclear flatulence. Even Bud Light is preferable.

  39. Papa Bear says:

    I have to go with the bad name argument, too. Big Flat Beer? We know it doesn’t mean the beer is flat, but the idea is planted in the mind. It’s sort of like the false rumor that Old Milwaukee Beer was brewed with water from the Milwaukee Sewer, duh! I mean River. Once an idea gets planted, its there to stay. People who have never once tasted OM still criticize it. Same will happen here. Especially of some comedian picks up on it.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Part of that is because people associated Old Milwaukee with Milwaukee’s Best. If you offered me an Old Mil, I’d take it. If you offered me a Milwaukee’s Best, I’d go to the store and buy a sixer of something else.

      • varro says:

        If you put it on ice in a garbage can and charged me $3 for all the beer you can drink, like the UChicago frats did when I went there, I wouldn’t care.

      • Papa Bear says:

        I hear you about the Milwaukee’s Best thing. I love OM and I’ve asked for it several times only to get Milwaukee’s Best. OM is far better and been around much longer, but Miller markets MB much better than OM gets marketed by whomever owns the brand today.

  40. Fjord says:

    I’d have to consider this for the weekly round of beer pong.

  41. Bad_Brad says:

    Move over Keystone, PBR, and Natty Light. You’ve got some new competition at the ol’ bad beer bash.

  42. Clyde Barrow says:

    $11.50 for a case of 24 cans? Helllllll yeah baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. DrXym says:

    I’m quite happy to drink supermarket beers and wine. At the end of the day, supermarkets pay someone else to make the beer for them and in all likliehood it happens in a place which is also producing branded beer for 2x the price.

    Naturally the beer might taste revolting, in which case don’t buy it again. If it tastes, okay, enjoy it and the money you save. Brand snobbery is ludicrous at the best of times, let alone when people are supposed to be counting the pennies.

  44. jpdanzig says:

    Now if only Walgreens will reduce the stupid prices on the other fast food crap it has begun selling — and restore shelf space to the drugstore products that had to make room for this overpriced shovelfare…

  45. Hoss says:

    This is confusing. What does 1901 indicate? Clearly i assume it’s a beer thats been around for over 100 years

  46. RiverStyX says:

    Walgreens has their own beer? I feel older by the day. Where there used to be this really nice old-looking house where I grew up in New Jersey, now rests a Walgreens.

    • RiverStyX says:

      Lol, “Red Dog Beer”. I always thought they called it that because they had dogs swimming in a vat at the beer company somewhere in the deep south.

  47. Rhinoguy says:

    It’s Pharm brewed!

  48. Bitingback says:

    So this stuff is already heavily stocked in Arlington. The Walgreen’s I found it at is practically across the street from the stadium. I am sure they will have a lot of Superbowl buyers considering the cost of the tickets and parking!

    I tried some and it tastes pretty bad, but then again, I am a beer snob. I like dark beer so I wasn’t expecting to have my socks knocked off. I think it is comparable to most light beers like Miller and PBR… heck, even Lonestar! If you drink a LOT of beer, this wouldn’t be so bad. I go for quality over quantity and so this was a novel experiment for me. I have Shiner and Rahr beer in this great state so I am spoiled!

  49. gman863 says:

    This gives me flashbacks to my college days (early ’80s) when the “generic” store brand fad was still big.

    Marsh Supermarkets had “Beer” (white can, black letters, single olive drab green stripe) at $1.49/6 pack. The store closest to the university couldn’t keep it in stock: No matter how much they stocked on Thursday the endcap was bare by Saturday. Although not Sam Adams or Dos Equs, the taste beat the crap out of Milwaukee’s Best, PBR and other starving student brands.