In a move designed to capture additional consumer dollars in a tight economy, Walgreens Co. has announced plans to add beer and wine to most of its stores during the next 12 to 18 months.

Walgreens had been selling liquor since the end of Prohibition, according to,  but exited the business at most stores in the early 1990s. Beer, wine and, in some cases, small amounts of liquor have been available at a few Walgreens stores in the Southwest.

For competitive reasons, Walgreens decided to re-visit the idea.

Walgreens operates 6,902 stores nationally. The addition of beer, wine and liquor is part of a broader cost saving program initiated during 2008.

The addition of alcoholic beverages – expected to account for 1 percent of store shelf space or less – is designed as a convenience for customers rather than to capture a new category of business, officials say.

Each Walgreens store would have to apply for a separate liquor license for each location.

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That said, Walgreens expects initially to introduce the leaner, new more customer-friendly program into 400 stores in Texas, where by December 2010 at least 80 percent of all locations will see an update.

No plan for Colorado stores has been announced.


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