One of the many great things about Maine is you can buy beer at a grocery store - and wine and what they call "haaaard liqaaaah" around here. So far I have only hit two stores in South Portland, Shaw's and Hannaford, but it is interesting to note the different treatment. At clean and bright and helpful Shaw's, the beer is in the chip and soda aisle. There are a few locals but it is treated as largely a commodity beverage with no focus on craft or even Maine. This is odd because at the other side of the store they have a dandy and quite large fine wine area with phoney rich wood panelling as well as a lay-out that creates a quiter shopping moment.
Hannaford, also clean and bright and helpful, clearly takes a different approach with a significant placement at the end of the aisles for Maine craft beers, plenty of fridge space including Allagash white - and, low and behold, fine high end craft beer in the fine wine area. There were well-priced examples from Allagash and Dogfish head as well as a few others. Nothing to compare with a specialty shop but clearly an effort to point out that instead of that bottle of red or white Ozzie or Cali plonk you may want to try a locally made triple for about the same price or maybe even a little less. A great idea and a great way to put good beer into the hands of your average family shoppers or folks like me travelling through.
More as I continue my quest to consume the entire output of the north Atlantic Ocean.