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Publix expands its 'drink beer and wine while you shop' concept

Florida’s dominant grocer — where they ask customers "Did you find everything you need?" — adds an element to make shopping less of a chore.

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 5:00 a.m. February 28, 2023
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
Sandy Pierre works in the Publix Pours at a Naples location on a recent morning.
Sandy Pierre works in the Publix Pours at a Naples location on a recent morning.
Stefania Pifferi
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Add family World Cup soccer watch parties to the long list of things Publix is known for. 

The scene: It was early December when Publix Naples area District Manager Julian Agollari spotted the families. There were two, each with four or five kids. The kids and their parents gathered around a TV set inside a Publix, a converted Lucky’s Market that had recently opened on Tamiami Trail in east Naples. After the game ended, the families, says Agollari, went “into aisles and started shopping.” 

“It was an amazing experience,” Agollari says.  

The genesis of that experience stems from Publix Pours, a stylish coffee and alcohol bar that’s grown from being located exclusively in the grocer’s GreenWise Market stores to being, now with the Naples one, inside five standard Publix locations. 

The TV isn’t the main feature, but a side player to the Pours bar, which serves anything from nitro cold brew coffee to draft beer to kombucha on tap. Other menu items include smoothies, acai bowls, wine, a variety of hot coffees and teas and, for a limited time, flavored seltzers. Coffee options include Kahwa, a St. Pete-based brand of retail and wholesale coffees. 

“This is a really good place for customers to unwind and relax,” Publix spokeswoman Lindsey Willis says. “It’s a great gathering spot.”

Pours debuted in the Tallahassee GreenWise Market in 2018. Since then it’s been a part of all the eight other GreenWise Market stores in Florida. And in addition to Naples, there are Pours in four other traditional Publix stores, one each in Orlando, Clermont, Ormond Beach and St. Augustine. 

This Naples Publix opened Dec. 1, the first non-GreenWise Market location on the west coast of Florida with a Pours bar.
Stefania Pifferi

Willis says two more Pours locations are expected to open in the next few months. One is a new store in Tampa, off Gandy Boulevard, and the other is in the Neptune Beach area, outside Jacksonville. Publix officials decline to disclose financial information on the Pours locations. Overall, revenue at Lakeland-based Publix is on the rise, up 9.2% year-over-year for the 2022 third quarter and up 10.7% year-over-year in the first nine months of 2022. Margins, on the other hand, have fallen during the same time periods.  

The Naples Pours is to the left when you walk in the store, right before the produce. It’s next to a large set of windows, and is spacious, with multiple tables, and of course, a bar. On a recent Wednesday morning a Publix employee, one of four in the store specially-trained to work at Pours, went from serving customers to cutting pineapples to making and pouring smoothie samples. 

In addition to families watching the soccer match, Agollari has seen multiple couples enjoy the shopping experience even more, with a glass of wine or beer at the ready. “It’s just a more relaxing way to shop,” Agollari says. 

Agollari and the Naples store manager, Keith Ertl, say they have been pleased with the Pours so far. The store opened Dec. 1, and it’s since held two “tap takeovers,” where local breweries Ankrolab Brewing and Palm City Brewing each offered discounted beers and other specials. Ertl says the store seeks to do more events in conjunction with Pours in the future. “It’s going really really well,” he says. 



Mark Gordon

Mark Gordon is the managing editor of the Business Observer. He has worked for the Business Observer since 2005. He previously worked for newspapers and magazines in upstate New York, suburban Philadelphia and Jacksonville.

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