The retail world looks different now and there's a lot of uncertainty. Instead of highlighting the absurd products we normally do, we're looking instead at some of the things in the industry that made us smile.
This week, French's collaborated with a beer company to create a mustard-flavored brew, a Los Angeles mall got creative to accommodate diners and Ikea dropped its first apparel merchandise collection.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
Oskar Blues and French's concoct the drink of 2020
While much has changed in day-to-day life, beer brands seemingly aren't slowing down when it comes to crafting unique brews and marketing campaigns. Busch Beer and Miller High Life both hosted contests in recent months geared toward couples who have had to adjust wedding plans due to the coronavirus. And earlier this month Burger King partnered with Danish craft brewery Mikkeller to create a nonalcoholic beer.
So Colorado-based brewery Oskar Blues had to pull out all the stops to stand out from the rest with its latest release. The brewery partnered with French's to create a one-of-a-kind mustard beer.
"With French's Mustard Beer we elevated the Classic Yellow Mustard flavor with tangy lemon and lime to create a tropical wheat ale I'd pair with a loaded hot dog on the hottest day of the year," Oskar Blues Head Brewer, Juice Drapeau, said in a statement.
The unique beer is infused with a combination of passion fruit, lemon, key lime and tangerine, and of course is brewed with French's Classic Yellow Mustard.
The beer will be made available starting Aug. 1, just in time for National Mustard Day, which is always the first Saturday in August (who knew?). Fans can snag a pint while supplies last at Oskar Blues' taprooms in Boulder and Longmont, Colorado, and Brevard, North Carolina, as well as online at CraftShack.
French's said it wanted to release the beer as a follow up to last year's mustard-flavored ice cream, which it claims was "wildly popular," though we still have our doubts.
Oskar Blues on its site also released the recipe for the concoction so all of the homebrewers out there can try it out for themselves.
LA mall operator's creative approach to the food court
Retailers have had to adapt in order to make shopping a little safer: They've enhanced their cleaning protocols, created signage to encourage social distancing and, in some cases, have required customers to wear masks while shopping in their stores. But the centers hosting these retailers have also had to adapt. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at the end of June said malls would need to upgrade their air filtration systems in order to reopen.
While some malls have yet to open in full, they're slowly making more services available to customers. While Glendale Galleria mall's interior remains closed, curbside pickup, takeout and delivery, and outdoor dining are still available, according to its website.
But management noticed a problem. Steven Sayers, the general manager of the Los Angeles-area mall, told NBC Los Angeles that outdoor seating in the patio outside the food court would fill up fast.
So the property got creative and began setting up additional tables inside its parking garage. You read that correctly, diners are actually sitting inside a parking garage where cars are still parked.
The rumors are true the Glendale Galleria has outdoor dining available in its parking structure. pic.twitter.com/LlO4NbuSOz— Los Angeleno (@LosAngeleno) July 25, 2020
But the need was dire, according to Sayers, who said lost business could lead to it shutting down permanently.
People had some opinions about the setup, some calling into question how healthy it is given the fumes present.
nothing says rats like glendale galleria parking garage dining area— ewose (@thefloridagirl_) July 29, 2020
Would still be better then the Glendale Galleria parking garage https://t.co/z7G0G64ACY— Ive got a list of demands (@TKVicious) July 29, 2020
Hey, the idea is creative so we'll give it that.
Ikea drops 'first ever' apparel collection
The Swedish furniture retailer, known for its flat-pack pieces and meatballs, has been an inspiration for designers for years. Pleasures and Chinatown Market reimagined those iconic blue polypropylene shopping bags the retailer sells for around $1.00 into a $38 cap, and prior to that designer Demna Gvasalia created a leather tote for Balenciaga, which other than the $2,000 price tag, was eerily similar to Ikea's bag.
So recently, Ikea's been rolling out merch in order to cash in on its own designs. The retailer began selling a bucket hat, KNORVA, made from the same material as its shopping totes. And now in Japan, the retailer is rolling out its "first ever" merchandise collection. Ikea Japan worked closely with Ikea of Sweden to create a collection that was "inspired by, and made for, the people of Tokyo," the company said.
The collection features a T-shirt, hoodie, tote bag, umbrella, bath towels and water bottles, with more drops to come. A barcode motif is present on several items, which the company said "gives a nod" to its famous BILLY bookcase.
The pieces will be made exclusively available to Ikea Harajuku until Thursday, but will roll out nationally in stores and online after that.
It's no Gucci, but for those of us ballin' on a budget, it's good enough.