Posted by Jennifer Sokolowsky on January 18, 2011 02:30 PM
New York City's Duane Reade drugstore chain has been undergoing a transformation, catering to local New Yorkers with clever packaging, marketing moxie (witness a Broadway store opening last year) and new products (including more food and other lifestyle items) in a bid to become a one-stop shop. It's also — attention Wal-Mart — getting creative in its outreach to locals, including launching an in-store bar to share a beer with customers.
When two people have their differences, sometimes all it takes is sitting down and sharing a beer to work it out. That's the thinking behind a strategy that seems to have worked for Duane Reade since it encountered blog and Facebook opposition from some Brooklyn residents worried about the impact of a new Duane Reade drugstore on a local pharmacy.
According to the New York Times, Duane Reade sought to differentiate its Bedford Avenue store in Brooklyn's Williamsburg area by focusing on beer sales − an area in which it would not compete with the local Kings Pharmacy.
The location's refrigerated items section already boasted a well-curated selection of local, craft and imported beers along with the usual national brands. The real difference, however, is that this Duane Reade features a 24-hour bar that offers tastings of eight beers on tap. While the beer can't be drunk by the glass, it can be taken home by customers in glass growlers that can be brought back in and refilled.
The new feature seems to have placated the hipsters of the neighborhood: the Williamsburg store is now the chain's top location for beer sales. No word on whether locals feel the need to disguise themselves by wearing ugly-chic sunglasses at night so their fellow hipsters won't find out where they are buying their beer.
The beer bar is part of a larger Duane Reade effort to personalize its stores according to the needs of neighborhoods, with more Hispanic food products in the Bronx, for example, more African-American hair products in Harlem, and more sandwiches and quick lunches around Penn Station.