Supervalu Debuts Low-Cost Store-Brand Beer

Buck Range Light costs about $6 for 12 cans, similar in price to national rivals Busch Light and Keystone Light.

Supervalu has long offered its own brand of many types of food and drinks-but it recently ventured into a new product category: value beer.

Eden Prairie-based Supervalu said Tuesday that it recently launched Buck Range Light, a new private brand beer-which costs about $6 for 12 cans, similar in price to well-known rivals Busch Light and Keystone Light.

“Supervalu's goal in creating a new private brand beer is to provide customers a fair, low-price option with the same great taste as leading national brands,” Trent McKinster, Supervalu's director of beer, said in a statement.

The new beer will be sold at a variety of Supervalu retail locations, including Cub Foods, Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, and Farm Fresh. The company said that it will look at expanding Buck Range Light's distribution into additional markets in the future.

Supervalu already offers a full line of higher-end private brands, including craft beers RJ King Wingwalker and Metolius and import beers Gouden Haven and San Lucas.

Supervalu operates a network of about 4,280 stores. It is Minnesota's fourth-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $40.6 billion during the fiscal year that ended in February 2010.

Supervalu has struggled in recent years amid tightened consumer spending, and its same-store sales have declined for the past 11 consecutive quarters. In January, on news of a weak third quarter, the company's stock closed down 11.6 percent at $7.59-the lowest level since 1984.

The company recently announced plans to close 20 unprofitable stores within this fiscal year, which ends February 26, in order to “eliminate negative operating costs for a healthier start to the new year.” The company has also offered some corporate and office employees a chance to take unpaid time off, with managers' approval, through the end of the fiscal year.