Fancy fixtures certainly have their place, but do not underestimate the value of supermarkets in your whiskey collecting. (photo by Colin Hui)

Whiskey is a glorious hobby, full of mystery, intrigue, and quite a bit of medicinal joy. It can also be costly. Contrary to popular belief, distilleries don’t shower us whiskey writers with goodies, so finding good deals is crucial to remaining solvent. I spend as much time price-checking my local liquor outlets as I do researching what to buy, so my recent experience with a Kroger grocery store shook my whiskey-buying to the roots.

I receive frequent coupons from Total Wine, the large national chain. Their various discounts, and sales from similar operations, create enticing opportunities, especially on bottlings from smaller distilleries or special importations. But these usually can’t compare with the deals on hand at your local grocer—if you keep close watch. Imagine my excitement recently when I saw that Kroger—branded Fry’s Grocery here in Arizona—offered a 25% discount for six or more mix-and-match bottles. And to top it off, the discount was even valid with their sale price!

Now, I know what you’re thinking—grocery store liquor? Well, let me assure you that my local Fry’s Marketplace is stocked as well as, if not better than, most of my local liquor stores. At last count, they offer 22 different Scotch whiskies, eight different Irish whiskeys, 11 Ryes, 33 Bourbons, and a selection of other varied whiskeys. It’s truly a “something for everyone” assortment. Is it exhaustive? No. Do they have many unusual or unique expressions? No. But what they do have is a cross-section of the most popular whiskeys, at prices ranging from reasonable to downright stupid.

Here are some examples from my latest two hauls (with what I paid, followed by the retail price in parentheses):

  • Bulleit Kentucky Straight Bourbon, 1.75L, $29 ($49)
  • Woodford Reserve Rye, 750ml, $21 ($32)
  • The Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey, 750ml, $19 ($29)
  • Monkey Shoulder Scotch, 750ml, $24 ($39)
  • Chivas Regal 12, 750ml, $19 ($29)
  • Glenmorangie 10, 750 ml, $25 ($39)
  • Glenmorangie Lasanta 12, 750ml, $29 ($49)
  • SanTan Sacred Stave American Single Malt, 750ml, $24 ($49)


As you can see, the bargains are incredible. There are many other great whiskeys I could choose: The Dalmore 12, The Macallan (10, 12), The Glenlivet (3 expressions), Glenfiddich (12 and 14), Redbreast 12, and so many more. Once you get them home, no one will know where they came from. And who cares?

My only regret is that I have to save a little money for other things—you know, like rent, food, fuel, electricity, and other less essential expenses. Kroger is one of the nation’s largest grocery chains, or rather, collection of chains, so you’re likely to have one near you. Your local megachain might not  offer sales like this, or the same quality or breadth of selection, but I can assure you of one thing—it can be well worth the effort to find out.