This week, convenience-store chain 7-Eleven announced it would begin carrying its own budget brand of beers, dubbed Game Day. They’ve gotten into the wine business before, but this is new. Is 7-Eleven angling to be your low-cost craft-beer salvation?
Nooooooot exactly. As expected, the decision was driven less by a desire to sell great brews than the bottom line. Beer purchases in convenience stores dipped 4 percent last year, according to research group SymphonyIRI — nearly double domestic beer sales’ 2.2 percent decline.
But the silver lining is that purchases of horrid disgusting loser “sub-premium” beers (Keystone Light, Natural Light) actually ticked up. Customers haven’t stopped drinking. They just want to pay less for a buzz.
Sometimes this gambit pays off, such as the medal-winning Mission Street pale ales and IPAs that California’s Firestone Walker brews for Trader Joe’s. But brand-wise, Trader Joe’s sits on a slightly more elevated plane than a convenience store selling unnaturally glistening, endlessly rotating hot dogs.