Dallas-based 7-Eleven Inc. is launching Game Day, a new store-brand premium lager, now entering 4,200 7-Eleven stores in 17 states, the Dallas Morning News reported.
7-Eleven plans to market the beer as “premium lager beer at a below-premium price,” said Dan Skinner, 7-Eleven’s category manager for alcohol beverages. “Our customer has been telling us for some time that they’re looking for a more value-priced brand,” he said. “In this tough economy, they’re looking for value and ways to make their dollar go further.”
Although Texas sales still must be approved by the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the beer has already entered stores in the Northwest, northern California and northern Nevada. Game Day is being produced by City Brewery of La Crosse, Wis.
The brew comes in two varieties – Light and Ice, and two sizes – 24-ounce singles with a suggested retail price of $1.49 and $1.89, and a 12-pack of 12-ounce cans with a suggested retail price between $6.99 and $8.99. Prices will vary based on distribution costs and state and local alcohol taxes. A 12-pack of a brand such as Bud Light would cost between $10 and $11 in most areas, Skinner told the Dallas Morning News.
Game Day will be facing off against premium beers, such as Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite, which now dominate sales at 7-Eleven, which is the third-largest beer retailer in the U.S., behind Wal-Mart and Kroger, according to the Nielsen Co.
The below-premium and budget beers make up the fastest-growing segment of the category as recession-weary customers look for new ways to save on costs, 7-Eleven noted.
The price point “is what’s going to get customers to try it,” said 7-Eleven spokeswoman Margaret Chabris, who noted most of the marketing for the product will occur in stores.
This is not 7-Eleven’s first foray into the beer category. 7-Eleven introduced Santiago de Oro imported beer in 2003 to compete with Corona, but the beer was discontinued a year later. But 7-Eleven noted today’s market is a different animal.
“When 7-Eleven introduced Santiago de Oro imported beer in 2003, the economic times were much different,” Chabris told CSD. “We went up against a name brand that was merchandised for the exotic vacation-in-a-bottle experience, and consumers were attracted to that. They were buying ‘up,’ and not as concerned with price.” Consumers today have different needs. “In 2003, a customer had $20 in his pocket, and gas was about $1.50 a gallon. Today, he might have $10 in his pocket and gas is $3 a gallon. Many more consumers are looking for ways to save money – including the beer they drink,” she said.