7-Eleven Launches Own, Private-Label Beer

For those times a Slurpee and Slim Jim just won't take the edge off, 7-Eleven customers will soon be able to partake of more adult offerings when the convenience store chain begins selling Game Day, a budget private-label beer.

Sold in Lite and (the higher-alcohol-content) Ice varieties, Game Day will be sold in both 12 and 24 oz. cans and retail for $6.99 to $8.99 for a 12-pack, and $1.49 and $1.89 for a single.

"American beer drinkers are seeking great-tasting beer at an affordable price," said Dan Skinner, 7-Eleven's category manager for alcohol beverages in a statement. "Even more so in this tough economy, they're looking for value and ways to make their dollar go further. Game Day satisfied two of a beer drinker's interests by offering a premium lager beer at a below-premium price."

While 7-Eleven calls beer sales "recession proof," the industry has taken something of hit, with more drinkers trading down from higher-end domestic brands like Budweiser and Coors to budget brands like Busch and Natural Light, said Jeff Cioletti, editor-in-chief of the trade magazine Beverage World.

"A regular domestic premium brand sells for about $5.99 for a six pack. They're selling this new beer at a lower price point to take advantage of the fact people are trading down a bit," he said.

The convenience store chain is the third largest beer retailer in the country. But, given beer drinkers' loyalty to their brands, the major brewers likely won't complain about 7-Eleven selling a competing brand unless they lose valuable shelf space, Cioletti said.

The store-brand beer comes on the heels 7-Eleven's private label wine, Yosemite Road, which was launched last year.

The beer will be produced by the 150-year-old City Brewery, a large contract brewer based in Lacrosse, Wisc.

Game Day will be sold in 4,500 7-Eleven stores in the 17 states, where full-strength beers can be legally sold.

"Beer and sports have a natural affinity for each other," Skinner said of the new beer's name. "When it came time to brand the product, the development team realized that our customers not only like beer, they love sports. The name Game Day was perfect."

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