USA and beer packs

Hi all!

I’ve just started a 2,5-month roadtrip through the USA, first stop Chicago. Now my girlfriend and I are from Belgium and we are used to buying 1 bottle/can of each beer we want to try when we visit a bottle shop, or even the grocery store.

First thing we noticed here is that beer is generally sold in 4- or 6-packs and hardly ever separately (exception would be the massive cans of cooled lager). We haven’t had time yet to visit a genuine craft beer shop but is this always the case? We sincerely hope not because that would make it very hard to try as many beers as possible without burning too much money.

Thanks for your input!

1 Like

If you go to a craft beer store you can usually get individual brews. Every state has dumb different laws but generally that’s the case. But yes less specialized places usually is overpriced 4 packs.

It is really a state by state issue or region by region. In New York, there are a bunch of beer shops that do singles (even corner stores will let you), but breweries generally only will sell 4-packs. In Massachusetts as I recall, it was really 4/6 pack oriented. In Pennsylvania, there are definitely places that will sell a lot of singles, but also generally 4-pack oriented.

There are lots of places that sell singles, most grocery stores will have a make your own sixpack section. I’d beware of a lot of these, as they tend to be filled with older beer. I’d be wary of most anything that wasn’t dated, as there are tons of old beer on the shelves most everywhere at this point.

1 Like

FYI any decent beer store in Mass has singles. I live right near two of the best.

Well I guess I have not lived there in 13 years, so the times have changed.

If you make it to MD. definitely hit up Statelineliquors! If you want a single you just pull it, from any pack so the singles you get are the ones you want! Don’t hafta pull from a singles cooler where THEY chose what you can have. Any beer you want is available in a single. 35 taps for growler crowler fills also. Enjoy! :v:
Almost forgot. Over 5K beers to choose from.

You can buy singles in Illinois, so no law there. Binny’s used to do a good job of selling singles, but not any more. The Binny’s even though many are ranked high is probably not a great place any more.

California is OK for singles, even BevMo and Trader Joes allow you to have singles.

Enjoy your trip.

Aside from a few grandfathered in shops, I was always told Pennsylvania was case hell.

VA bottle shops sell singles as well. I’m sure you can get a lot better info based on what states you plan to stop in.

So now beer distributors who traditionally could only sell cases can sell singles and 4-packs (that said, not everything is available as singles). That said delis (aka cold beer stores) and bars can sell to go sell singles and 4 packs all the time, like the Foodery in Philadelphia.

Foodery was one of the grandfathered in places. Cool to hear that things have changed for the better.

Thanks all for your replies, it’s been a busy past week what with all the driving.
Came down from Chicago over St. Louis, Oklahoma City (Prairie!!!), currently in Austin, still going to San Antonio, El Paso, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, San Diego.

In a Binny’s in Chicago we managed to grab two ‘make your own six-packs’ and besides that the odd loose bottle & can (but still mostly 4-packs).
As for breweries we visited Old Irving, Revolution, Perennial, Narrow Gauge, Prairie, and indeed they all only sold 4-packs.
Will look out for the (better) bottle shop; I’ve also heard that Wholefoods sells individual cans/bottles.


Whole Foods is really hit or miss. There used to be really good Whole Foods for beer, but I think they are fewer now.

1 Like

Hope the 4-pack thing never takes off in the UK (despite certain UK brewer’s attempts to push it). I’m very happy that even in our supermarkets singles are the norm!