Back in college, my buddies and I used to drink a can of suds called Meister Brau because it was cheap and accomplished the effect desired from drinking mass quantities. While the brewer has long since been taken over by SABMiller, the cheap and easy feeling I got from the brew is what I'm expecting we'll be getting at deep discounter Dollar General (NYSE: DG), which has plans to roll out beer and wine sales to half of its 9,000 stores nationwide.

Tapping into opportunity
Actually, the dollar store chain hasn't said what brands it intends on selling, so there's no reason to anticipate it's going to offer beer and wine just this side of Ripple. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) has successfully integrated the sale of brand-name alcohol into its stores, as has Costco (Nasdaq: COST) (which also offers its own Kirkland brand of beer, too), so the move should complement Dollar General's laser-like focus on consumable goods, which accounted for 72% of its $3.1 million in revenues last quarter.

Brewers like Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) and Molson Coors could certainly use the help. Although A-B's global volume growth surpassed expectations, volumes in North America -- its largest market -- slid 3.4%. Similarly, Molson's results were pulled down by declining U.S. volumes. Craft brews are what the drinkers are leaving the mass brewers for.

Buy another round
While deep discounters Family Dollar (NYSE: FDO), Dollar Tree (Nasdaq: DLTR), and Big Lots have yet to announce their own foray into alcohol, consumables account for a large part of their sales, too. They represent two-thirds of Family Dollar's total revenues, almost half of Dollar Tree's 2009 sales, and for Big Lots it was 31% of sales last year, its largest category.

A few steps up the price ladder you'll find Target offering its Wine Cube brand, a low-priced box of wine for the masses, while pharmacy chain Walgreen (NYSE: WAG) also has plans to introduce beer and wine in its stores.

Hair of the dog
In an economy that's heading for a second scoop of recession, cheap suds and Ripple just may be the ticket for Dollar General's growth. These types of stores typically describe their popularity with consumers as an appreciation for the "treasure hunt" nature of the shopping experience. You never know what sort of deep value find you'll stumble across in their aisles. Heavily discounted alcohol would be a treasure you wouldn't need a map to find and would taste a lot better than college days' swill.

But buying Dollar General's beer would be different than buying its stock. The discounter's return to the equity markets carried a heavy load for outside investors as debt was piled on and the P/E firm paid itself a princely sum. That makes some smart analysts think Dollar General is a better short candidate, and as someone who has questioned the need to go long on this one, I'll drink to that!