SpouseBuzz

Beer and Wine at the Commissary? Here's How It's Going

A sign at Port Huememe, California points shoppers to the store's beer and wine selection. (Photo: Military.com)
A sign at Port Huememe, California points shoppers to the store's beer and wine selection. (Photo: Military.com)

With beer and wine for sale at 12 commissaries nationwide, sales seem to be chugging right along -- pun intended.

Beer and wine hit some commissary shelves for the first time ever in July as Pentagon officials explore ways to lure more customers into stores. Operated through a partnership with the military exchange system much like the one under which commissaries carry tobacco, proceeds from sales go back to the exchange, not to the commissary.

Since the initial rollout, the system has sold about $150,000 in beer and wine, Kevin Robinson, a Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) spokesman, said in an email.

The items are currently carried only on store shelves, not in cooler cases. And if what's available at Port Hueneme, California, is any indication, selection is very limited. In mid-September, that store had only a selection of light beers and low-cost red and white wine bottles and boxes.

Robinson said the system hasn't yet received enough feedback to determine whether patrons like that selection.

It is "still too early yet to gauge overall patron response since this rollout is still within the 90-day initial deployment to 12 stores," he said.

Officials also haven't announced a rollout of beer and wine at stores outside the 12 pilot locations, although an April 27 Pentagon memo states that availability systemwide will occur "efficiently and expediently thereafter" after the 90-day test.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

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