Around Town

Which has a better Charlotte beer selection: Harris Teeter or Publix?

Last month, we learned that Harris Teeter “reclaimed the No. 1 spot … in the latest market share rankings for Charlotte’s highly competitive grocery scene.” And Publix has been gaining ground, finishing fourth in the latest rankings.

We also learned last month from Katie Toussaint that Harris Teeter and Publix are pretty even in the wine department.

So last week, I decided to wander out to the same Harris Teeter (1227 East Blvd. — Kenilworth Commons) and Publix (2222 South Blvd. — Shops at Southline) to see how the beer selections match up.

Because we love Charlotte here at C5, I focused solely on the local beer selection at each.

I was especially interested in the situation at Publix. A little more than a year ago, right after the new Publix opened in South End, I wrote about the lack of local beer available in the store. Had things gotten better? (Yes.)

Now before we dive into this, it’s worth noting that not every Harris Teeter and Publix is the same, so the situation could be different in your neighborhood. But these two are less than 1.5 miles from each other and are serving basically the same clientele, so we feel like it’s a fair comparison.

There’s a slight chance I missed a beer somewhere, though I spent an excessive amount of time staring at beer for this story. And I didn’t even buy anything. I should get a medal for resisting the temptation.

On to the comparison.

Selection: Number of Charlotte breweries

While Publix’s local beer selection has blossomed nicely over the past year, it still lags slightly behind the nearby Harris Teeter by sheer number of breweries.

Harris Teeter offered beers from seven Charlotte-area breweries:

– The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

– The Unknown Brewing

– Sugar Creek Brewing

– Triple C Brewing

– NoDa Brewing

– Birdsong Brewing

– D9 Brewing

D9

And Publix offered beers from six Charlotte-area breweries:

– The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

– The Unknown Brewing

– Sugar Creek Brewing

– Birdsong Brewing

– Triple C Brewing

– NoDa Brewing

Harris Teeter 1, Publix 0.

Selection: Range of beers from each brewery

So Harris Teeter had the most breweries represented, but did they have the most diverse selection of beers from those breweries? Yes, but just slightly.

Both offered the same styles from Unknown (Over the Edge IPA and Pregame Session Ale), Triple C (3C IPA and Golden Boy Blonde), NoDa (Jam Session, Hop Drop ‘N Roll, Cavu and Coco Loco) and Birdsong (Jalapeno Pale, Lazy Bird Brown and Doin’ Thyme).

But let’s look at OMB and Sugar Creek.

Publix:

– OMB: Copper, Captain Jack Pilsner and Hornet’s Nest.

– Sugar Creek: Pale Ale and Belgian Dubbel.

Harris Teeter:

– OMB: Copper, Captain Jack, Hornet’s Nest, Southside Weiss (plus the variety 12-pack).

– Sugar Creek: White Ale, Pale Ale, Belgian Dubbel, Atmosphera Tripel, Biere de Garde.

Harris Teeter OMB

Harris Teeter 2, Publix 0

Price

Probably the most important consideration for me, because I’m cheap. Instead of going through every beer that each store offers, I decided to pick three that they both sell to compare.

Triple C 3C IPA:

– Publix: $10.99 for a four-pack.

Harris Teeter: $9.99 for a four-pack.

NoDa Jam Session:

Publix: $8.99 for a four-pack.

– Harris Teeter: $9.99 for a four-pack.

Publix Shelf
OMB Copper:

– Publix: $9.99 for a six-pack.

– Harris Teeter: $9.99 for a six-pack.

Points for both stores in this category. Depending on what beer you like, you might save a buck, but overall the prices were comparable.

Final: Harris Teeter 3, Publix 1.

Jam Session HT

The two are much closer than the score suggests. I was impressed by Publix’s selection, especially considering what it was a year ago. (And yeah, I’ll take credit for it. The C5 effect is a thing, right?)

And we all win when big chain grocery stores sell this much local craft beer.

Photos: Corey Inscoe

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