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Walgreens' 50-cent beer
The drugstore chain has begun selling its own brew at rock-bottom prices. Reviewers are claiming it gave them headaches, but will the beer-swilling masses respond?
Times are tough, but Walgreens has responded with its new Big Flats 1901 brand of 50-cent lager.
Times are tough, but Walgreens has responded with its new Big Flats 1901 brand of 50-cent lager.
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algreens, the national drugstore chain that recently announced plans to sell more groceries, has gotten into the beer business too. Starting in December, the Illinois-based retailer began offering a house brand called Big Flats 1901, noted for its affordability: 50 cents a can, or $2.99 for a six pack. "In this tough economy, consumers are looking for value," a Walgreens spokesman told the Chicago Tribune. Big Flats is manufactured by City Winery, which also makes house brands of alcohol for Trader Joe's and Costco. The beer is currently available at about 4,600 of the chain's 7,655 stores. Will this recession-proof brew appeal to cash-strapped consumers? (Watch a local report about Walgreens' alcohol venture)

The cheapness makes it appealing: While this beer "certainly wouldn't be anyone's first choice," says Aaron Morrissey at DCist, "the price is hard to beat." And "a quick poll of the DCist staff" elicited responses from "at $3 for a six pack, I'd definitely give it a shot" to "I'd probably try it once" to "I tried the 7-11 beer and it couldn't be any worse than that."
"Would you drink Walgreens beer?"

The beer itself is terrible: "I laid into a six pack of Big Flats as soon as I saw it," says Mark McDermott at The Beeronaut. But, "according to my tasting notes," the beer had "a skunk odor when opened," and I felt "a headache coming on after finishing it." The poor quality is just what I'd expect from Walgreens: "One star out of five."
"Walgreens Big Flats 1901 beer"

Quality isn't the point: Walgreens, in "a wise marketing decision," has been up front about the fact that it's not aiming for quality, says Zoe Fox at Time. The unspoken agenda is to "redefine the 'cheap' in 'cheap drunk.'" And for these low prices, you can hardly expect the premium Belgian taste of Delirium Tremens or Chimay. "You should probably be satisfied with a slight buzz that doesn't make you gag."
"Two beers for a buck at Walgreens: The craziest thing to happen to drinking since Four Loko"

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