In the last year Trader Joe’s opened several stores here in Charlotte, none of the stores are terribly close to my home, but on occasion, my wife and I wander across town to check one of them out. Of late my taste in adult beverages has shifted from wine to beer so I always pay attention to anything new or interesting. We have been known to stock up on “Three Buck Chuck” the somewhat infamous Private Brand wine from Trader Joe’s so when I discovered their Private Brand beers I had to give them a try. And overall I would have to say they are not bad. Among the selections are: bohemian lager, hefeweizen, amber ale and pale ale. All produced by The Gordon Biersch production brewery in San Jose, California.
Trader Joe’s is almost mythic in the Private Brand world regularly launching unusual and often innovative Private Brand food products. In a retail environment where many Private Brand products are the same no matter what store you go to it is refreshing to see Trader Joe’s continue to use their Private Brands as not simply a price or margin play but as a true point of differentiation.
Grocers all over the country could take this to heart and expect manufacturers to develop new and original products that really speak to their consumers. Instead of the same Cott beverage cola in every can, instead of the same Ralston cereal in every box, instead of the same gummies or chips that mimic the national brand, they can and should create unique locally relevant products that build their brands and drive loyalty with originality.