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What’s a Shelfie beer? 5 Reasons to Enjoy the Bounty of the Grocery Store

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What’s a Shelfie Beer?

If you’re active at all in the craft beer game, you’re probably familiar with this term. Or you might not even realize that you’re in the shelfie game when you’re out beer shopping.

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Shelfies are those off-the-shelf beers you buy at stores (typically grocery stores). In other words, you aren’t waiting in line at a brewery or ordering them online via a pre-sale.

They cover pretty much the entire spectrum of beer styles, pack sizes, and costs.

Although any pack of beer at the store is referred to as a shelfie, I often snag my shelfies in singles instead of the 4-pack or 6-pack formats.

Shelfies sound like a great thing, right? Turns out, the term is ACTUALLY used as a derogatory term sometimes.

First, it sounds like “selfie”, which is that overused social media term that I thought would’ve disappeared years ago. Second, hype bois make it sound like beers from the store are lesser in quality than something direct from the source.

Third, it’s not the shelfie you stumbled across on Urban Dictionary. We’re talking about a can or bottle of beer, here.

I’ve certainly had terrible shelfies, but I’ve also had terrible beers that I waited in line for. Plus, some of my favorite beers ever can be found right there at the store.

If you can’t tell, I’m pro-shelfie. They’ve been a significant part of my beer career.

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Here are 5 reasons why they should be part of yours too:

1) It’s an excellent way to get into craft beer. Shelfies are limitless in terms of style, giving you a wide variety to choose from. Perfect for those who want to try a style they’ve never heard of.

2) Shelfies narrow down that wish list. Maybe you have a list of beers you’re hoping to track down but aren’t sure if you want to commit to a full pack just yet. Then bam! Shelfie singles of those exact beers at the store. After a very small investment, you may be able to add to your list of “beers I’d buy a pack of” (great to know for parties and especially a case-of-the-Monday-Mondays).

3) Shelfies are usually on the cheaper side. Sure, at places like liquor stores with big beer selections, you’ll still find those pricey bottles. But shelfies fall in that lower price range, and you can skip those overhyped and overpriced brewery-only packs. I’ve found that even singles aren’t really marked up, so you can try new beers for under $2. Bottle shops are known to have a slew of singles, and this list of some of Houston’s best is sure to help you stock up your beer fridge.

4) It’s so simple! You just go to the store and browse. You no longer have to stress over limited quantities at the brewery, crazy pricing or running around every weekend trying to get to every release.

5) This one is probably more personal to me, but I have great memories of scoring shelfie singles at different grocery stores. I can usually tell you which store I bought that beer. Plus, when it works out, I will make it a point to hit a different grocery store that is near places I’m already going. HEBs and their higher-end locations, Central Market, are almost always the cream of the crop as long as you’re in a more affluent part of town.

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Shelfies got me into craft beer.

I started out looking for the newest Shiner and Sam Adams bottles because both breweries made a huge variety of beers, giving me a chance to try something new all the time. Even better when I got to mix-and-match those 6-packs.

I’ve obviously expanded beyond that in the last 7 years. But my respect for shelfies has never dwindled.

I still get excited when I see new ones at the store, especially when I’ve been specifically looking for them.

My weekend grocery trips almost always include a new bottle or can.

They also helped me build a list of beers that I’d gladly buy a pack of next time I needed one. Even in today’s exploding market of different beer options, I feel confident walking into any store and finding something to grab.

All because of shelfies.

If you’re just dipping your toe into the ocean that is craft beer, shelfies should be a part of your craft beer game. Or, at the very least, if you’re at the breweries every weekend lining up for the limited-releases, give it a rest with dogging the shelfies already.

Let us know your thoughts on shelfies. Got any favorites?  Where’s the best place to pick them up?

Or if you’re not into shelfies, check out HopDrop for 10% off craft beer delivery using our code “BEERCHRONICLE” at checkout.

Beers to you, Houston


Brent is originally from Ohio but has been in Houston for over 10 years. As an Aggie, musician, animal advocate, and Lego collector, he always has something going on. If you have an imperial stout, come find him. He’ll want to add it to his insatiable beer spreadsheet.


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    […] I can remember scoring a few cans of EQ or OH on Tavour and being really pleased with the beer. Imagine my excitement when I started seeing random singles of EQ in the mix-n-match section at HEB last fall. It got me wondering if this was the start of more breweries like these becoming shelfies. […]

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