Saturday, February 18, 2012

Whole Foods in Mishawaka, IN

It's fairly old news at this point, but in case you've been living under a rock, or pint glass, you should know that Whole Foods is opening a store at the former Borders bookstore on Grape Road in Mishawaka sometime within the year.

No, I'm not getting into foodie news or business openings, but Whole Foods does have an interesting craft beer aspect to it that may benefit our area...

Over the years, I've had the opportunity to travel to several much larger cities around the country, and almost always take the opportunity to visit a Whole Foods when possible. One of the major reasons I gravitate toward this supermarket chain is because of their commitment to Craft Beer, which is quite helpful when picking up snacks and other items for the week.

Of course some WF stores have better selections than others, which I'm sure is a result of various factors, but you can usually find a reasonable lineup of craft beer available in that region.

The best example of this is the Whole Foods in the East Village of NYC (known as the Bowery Beer Room), which I stumbled upon quite accidentally. This very large room features over 1,000 different beers, and 6 growler stations for 32 and 64 ounce fills. The only place I've seen that comes close to this is the South Loop Binny's in Chicago.

So you might be asking, what's the point? With craft beer in our area exploding at the rate that it has been, having another place to find beer will be great. In the unlikely event that someone from Whole Foods reads this, it would be incredible to finally have a store that sells growlers. Fresh beer from Founders, Bell's or 3 Floyds to take home by the jug full? Count me in! 


  1. Growler fills done by anyone other than a brewery in Indiana is against the law. So nope no growler fills by Whole Foods it would seem. Sprry to burst your bubble Andy.

  2. Do you happen to have a source? I've searched google for a bit with no luck. There have been a couple of people tell me this before, but generally cannot verify this information.

    With that said, I also know of a couple of places in this area that will fill a growler of whatever they have on tap, and they aren't breweries. I've asked if they are permitted to do this by law, which they seem to think they are. I've also not heard of excise coming down on these places for doing it.

    This might take a call to the ATC to verify, just for curiosity sake.

    1. I am afraid anonymous is right Andy. I am not 100% sure, and would love if someone wanted to do the research. Certainly the ways in which bars, restaurants, brewpubs, supermarkets, convenience, and liquor stores sell beer are guided by different laws. I have always been unsure whether the couple of non brewpubs that fill growlers are within the law or just flying under the radar, but I m quite sure that the way they are able to sell you beer is different than the way a supermarket can. Have you bought cold beer at a supermarket in Indiana recently? Me either, but I certainly expect it out of a restaurant setting.

      I can tell you that there is no Whole Foods that doesn't take special care with their beer and wine departments, and ours will be no different. The Whole Foods we sold to in Seattle were our biggest accounts both individually and combined as a chain and there were only four of them in comparison to dozens of QFCs (Krogers). There was a law that you could neither serve or sample beers in any of these stores except in a controlled space that the beer could not leave. I am guessing based on what I know of our laws ours will be similar, if not worse than this.

      But remember, any new outlet for good beer is a plus when it comes to a greater influx of rare beers in the future. And the World Class-Indiana Beer deal is meant to give us more leverage with the legislature to change laws that disallow things like draft beer at a whole foods.

      Guess we have a new item to add to the docket.