Target Just Confirmed a Major Change That Could Drastically Change the Way You Shop

published Apr 11, 2024
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Target store in Buffalo, New York, USA. Target Corporation is an American retailer.
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Many people have decided to ditch the booze (or significantly reduce their intake) in the name of health, and the current market reflects that. In the past two years, the nonalcoholic beverage market has become the third-fastest-growing category in the United States, with an expected $500 million in sales in 2024. Given that these beverages aren’t alcohol, it would seem logical that these items wouldn’t require an ID to purchase in stores. And yet, depending on where you live, stores like Target are ensuring that IDs are necessary to purchase NA beverages.

According to Food & Wine, Target is carding for nonalcoholic beverages at checkout, requiring customers to be 21 or older to purchase these drinks. The company’s reasoning behind it is due to these products having similar flavor profiles as alcoholic beverages and are designed to be experienced in a similar way, i.e. enjoyed at a social gathering or to be sipped on in replacement of alcohol.

According to guidelines, a beverage is considered to be nonalcoholic if it has an alcohol by volume (ABV) of less than 0.5%. Some of the brands on the market are simply dealcoholized to decrease the ABV content, such as brands like Giesen and Athletic Brewing Company. Others are completely new drink concepts with drinks that focus more on adaptogens and health instead of a buzz, like Dei Soi and Kin Euphorics.

Regardless, because these drinks are intended to replace alcohol (all while being sold in the same aisles as traditional full-alcohol offerings), Target — as well as other major retailers like Walmart — will card customers for any of the beverages sold in these categories, regardless of how they are made. This also helps to comply with any states that have laws requiring customers to be carded for these beverages in stores such as New York.

Although Target just confirmed this major change, it seems the popular retailer has been enacting this policy for a while now. Customers have reported having to show their card for their nonalcoholic beverages for months now, some even complaining about how inconvenient it is at checkout. Yet this particular move is just another step in legitimizing this particular market of drinks, helping to create policies that protect brands as the market continues to change and grow.