A Closer Look At Duane Reade’s Growlers

A few weeks ago The New York Times featured and article on Duane Reade and their introduction of Private Brand growlers at the newest Brooklyn store. The following is an excerpt from the article along with a series of photos that provide a closer look at this cool concept developed by the New York based branding agency CBX.

When Duane Reade opened a new store a few months ago in Brooklyn, it faced opposition from residents loyal to a local pharmacy. So it decided to include something in the store that the neighborhood did not have: a bar that specializes in beer.

One corner of the Duane Reade store on Bedford Avenue in the Williamsburg neighborhood has Fire Island Lighthouse Ale and eight other beers on tap, with growlers — refillable glass bottles — lining the walls. Uniformed clerks-cum-beer-experts fill the growlers and conduct tastings only — sorry, no pints served. Behind a bar, a large walk-in refrigerator stocks common national brands as well as local, craft and imported beers. “We knew we would have a little bit of a battle to try to bring Duane Reade into this community, because they really don’t like a chain store,” said Paul Tiberio, senior vice president for merchandising and marketing at the company.

The Williamsburg beer bar is part of a larger effort by Duane Reade to recognize — and capitalize — on the fierce identity and local needs of many New York City neighborhoods.

Mr. Tiberio said the growler idea came from local breweries that sell to Duane Reade. The breweries reported that growlers, which were popular in the 19th century as a way to carry draft beer home or to work, were seeing a resurgence because Whole Foods and some local bars had begun to offer them. And as long as the growlers are filled by an employee and sealed in the store, Duane Reade does not need any additional licenses.

CBX Strategic Branding, which advises on Duane Reade’s in-store design, made the growler bar reminiscent of a glamorized New York City subway station.

“We’re trying to bring in New York references,” said a CBX partner, Todd Maute. CBX hit the New York angle again in the name for the bar —Brew York City — which is also on the old-time growler bottles of dark glass. It costs $3.99 to buy a 64-ounce growler, and $7.99 to fill it.



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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.