7-Eleven Location in Japan Draws Attention With Massive Beer Collection

The c-store earned buzz and customers by leaning into a gigantic craft beer selection.

October 31, 2023

One 7-Eleven owner in Japan wanted to stand out with a  collection of craft beers from around the world, reported Nikkei Asia. The store is in Yokohama Hammerhead, an oceanside commercial complex.

Keitaro Nakayama, owner of the 7-Eleven in Yokohama, as well as two other locations, decided to try something new as the store was struggling, with average daily sales under 100,00 yen, or less than $700. According to The Mainichi, he decided to focus on selling beer and “taking advantage of the location’s scenic views to create a convenience store that adults can enjoy.”

Through negotiations with producers and wholesalers, Nakayama made his 7-Eleven outlet the “the convenience store that sells the most craft beers in Japan,” he said.

Over the last couple of years, Nakayama made space for the beer expansion by moving magazine racks and adding more refrigerated cases. He now offers 600 to 800 different beers, which account for one-third of his sales. His goal is to reach 1,000 beer SKUs.

In addition to the cans of beer, the 7-Eleven also stocks beer glasses so customers can enjoy beers on benches outside the store and look out at the ocean, reported Nikkei Asia.

"What made me happiest was when a customer said that this store was more fun than Disneyland," Nakayama said.

According to Nikkei Asia, Yokohama was home to the first brewery in Japan and is also home to many small breweries.

Additionally, the craft beer market in Japan is growing every year and is expected to reach 4% of the market by 2027, according to Kirin Brewery.

Want to hone your "craft" on the beer category and the rest of your assortment? Be sure to check out the NACS I Impact 21 Certified Convenience Basic and Advanced Category Management Curriculum. These online training programs teach and certify category management professionals who are new to the channel or are seasoned professionals looking to learn the latest in thought leadership, practices of category management and shopper marketing. More information here.