Though the company is no longer reducing its selection, “we’re asking more of brands,” said Mary Guiver, the company’s principal category merchant for beer. (She added that Whole Foods now prioritizes brands owned by women and people of color, as well as breweries that use heritage grains and champion carbon-neutral initiatives.)
Craft breweries and their complex beers arose as alternatives to mainstream lagers that varied mainly in branding, but not in flavor. And brewery taprooms became destinations for drinkers who wanted to try a variety of beers in the form of small pours.
Suarez Family Brewery in Livingston, N.Y., which opened in 2016, offered a single size (about eight ounces) of about eight beers, including fragrant pilsners and pale ales, which caused “a lot of agony over choosing,” said Dan Suarez, the brewer and an owner.
After the brewery shut its taproom during the pandemic, Mr. Suarez switched to the model of traditional European taverns and breweries that serve only one or two beers at a time. In 2022, the taproom reopened with one draft beer, then added a second last year.
New releases are rare for Mr. Suarez, who produces only one original recipe annually. “It’s something special for me, as a brewer,” he said.