SALISBURY, N.C. -- Food Lion here is deepening its commitment to the growing specialty beer category by test-marketing an ale imported from Belgium in several dozen of its Virginia and North Carolina stores.
Food Lion began stocking The Knight's Ale at 59 stores in the Tidewater area of Virginia and 51 stores in North Carolina last fall. The Knight's Ale is produced in Purnode, Belgium, a city in the Wallonian region of the country, known for the quality of its ales.
Made from artesian well water, Knight's Ale is a high-fermentation beer, with a smooth, full-bodied taste and just a hint of bitterness. Unlike many imported beers, which are brewed for six to 10 days, Knight's Ale is double-fermented using a special 95-day process that helps it achieve a one-of-a-kind flavor.
"In the past several years we have seen trends shift from imported beers to microbrews and back," said Rob Brunory, vice president for category management. "By adding Knight's Ale to our lineup of imports, we can offer our customers an excellent product at an exceptional value."
A Food Lion store in Raleigh, N.C., contacted by SN last month, was selling a six-pack for $5.99.
Tawn Earnest, a Food Lion spokeswoman, said the test is open-ended and initial results look promising.
"There is a growing interest in the market for foreign beers and we hope to capitalize on some of that interest," she said. Earnest added that Food Lion has been increasing its imported beer selections in stores that have a clientele and floor space to warrant an expanded offering.
Food Lion does not have plans to increase the number of stockkeeping units of Knight's Ale products at the current time, Earnest said.