Twelve commissaries across the continental U.S. will be the first to start selling beer and wine, officials said.

The 12 stores, which range in size from small to large at bases of all branches of service, will start selling beer and wine by July 26, said Kevin Robinson, spokesman for the Defense Commissary Agency.

This will be a test for about 90 days, before it’s rolled out to more stores across the country.

This will allow the commissary agency and the military exchanges’ officials to make sure all the business systems and ordering and delivery processes are “in sync,” he said.

Pricing for beer and wine in commissaries will be comparable to the prices in military exchanges, Robert Wilkie, the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, wrote in an April 27 memo announcing the upcoming sale of beer and wine.

Similar to the way tobacco is priced in commissaries, beer and wine will be purchased for resale from the military exchanges, to minimize any potential impact on exchange profits and dividends to morale, welfare and recreation programs, Wilkie stated.

Until now, commissaries haven’t been allowed to sell beer and wine, except for some limited tests.

“The availability of beer and wine at military commissary stores will increase customer satisfaction and convenience, and align with common commercial grocery store practices,” Wilkie’s memo stated.

The stores are:


Twentynine Palms

Port Hueneme


Fort Leonard Wood


Nellis Air Force Base

New Jersey

Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station (part of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst)

New Mexico

White Sands Missile Range

South Carolina

Shaw Air Force Base


Arnold Air Force Base


Fort Sam Houston (part of Joint Base San Antonio)


Fort Myer (part of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall)

Little Creek (part of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story)

Quantico Marine Corps Base

Commissary officials will follow DoD requirements for the exchanges regarding the sale of beer and wine, including minimum age; eligible purchasers and quantity limitations; responsible use of beer and wine; segregation of stock and compliance with inventory controls, ration controls and signage; and other regulations.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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