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The Pros and Cons of the Mix and Match Section

Ten or fifteen years ago, most grocery stores had only a handful of choices in the craft beer section. You didn’t have to worry too much about making the wrong choice, because you only had four….

Over the past decade, that has changed. Most grocery stores now stock dozens if not hundreds of different beers to try. So, how do you make a decision? Do you really want to plunk down $10-$20 on a six pack you may not like?

Also, craft beer drinkers tend to be a lot like Pokemon collectors. They want to catch them all. If your wallet or liver can’t handle a six pack every night, it’ll be very difficult to try everything your store has to offer. 

Enter the Mix and Match section. This is an area of the beer department where customers can build their own six packs from an assortment of beers broken out of their six pack holders and placed in one convenient area. 

For craft beer lovers, this is a dream! You can choose six different beers at a time, so you have the opportunity to both find new favorites and avoid buyer’s remorse for choosing a six pack of something you’d like to pour down the drain.

But, this freedom of selection is not without its perils. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons to building a six pack from the Mix and Match section.

mix and match cooler at a beer store


  1. Variety: Mix and match sections in grocery stores offer a wide range of beer options from different breweries, styles, and regions. This allows customers to try new beers and discover new favorites. For example, you can try a variety of IPAs, stouts, lagers, and pilsners from different breweries. This allows for a diverse beer tasting experience without having to purchase a full case of beer from one particular brewery or style.
  2. Customizable: Mix and match sections allow customers to select individual bottles or cans of beer, allowing them to create their own custom selection. This is great for those who want to try a little bit of everything or for those who want to create a custom six-pack for a party or event. This also allows customers to purchase just one or two bottles of a beer they are not sure about without having to commit to a full six-pack.
  3. Cost-effective: Mix and match sections often offer a lower per-unit price than purchasing a full six-pack or case of beer. This makes it a cost-effective option for those looking to try a variety of beers without breaking the bank. This can also be a great way to purchase a variety of beers for a party or event without having to spend a lot of money.


  1. Limited availability: The selection of beers in mix and match sections may be limited compared to a dedicated beer store and often don’t include everything the grocery store offers. This means that customers may not be able to find certain beers or styles that they are looking for. This is due to the fact that the mix and match section is usually a smaller subset of the entire beer selection in the store.

  2. Risk of spoilage: Beer is perishable, and the mix and match section is often the dumping ground for slow moving products. It is imperative the customers check the dates on the beer before they add it to their six pack. Buying expired beer at a great price is still wasting your money on expired beer.

  3. Risk of light damage: Mix and match sections may be under bright UV lights in the store. Exposure to UV light is one of beer’s mortal enemies. It creates a sulfur compound that smells just like a skunk! Being outside of the protective cardboard case, green and clear bottles are especially susceptible. Brown bottles are generally safe from UV light, and cans are always the best choice for light protection.

Make Good Choices


Overall, buying beer from the mix and match section of a grocery store can be a great way to try new beers and save money, but it is important to consider the potential risks of spoilage and damage before making a purchase. Check the dates, pay attention to the lighting and ask yourself if you’re risking buying a six pack full of skunks. Otherwise, enjoy the Mix and Match section and get some new beers to try!


Join Us On A Brewery Tour

Want to know another great way to try a lot of different beers? On a BREW-ed Brewery Tour! We’ll show you behind the scenes of some of the best breweries in Asheville, NC and try a wide variety of beers. 

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