A good beer has character.

Despite the violent intensity of the earthquake which struck the Tohoku area on 13 February, it fortunately looks as if no lives have been lost. However, damage was widespread on the streets as well as in homes and businesses.

One such business was the Happy Food RE Fanz supermarket in Date City, Fukushima, where the quake registered as a Magnitude 6. A part of their ceiling collapsed and several items were shaken off their shelves, including cans of beer and various alcopops which were dented as a result.

Even without natural disasters, dented cans are a regular occurrence and normally get placed in a special “damaged goods” discount bin. However, the clerk in charge of the liquor section at this supermarket, Yohei Sato, felt they deserved better after all they’ve been through.

In the center of the section stood each banged-up can proudly with the following sign:

“These are the heroes who bravely stood up to the earthquake. I don’t want them to be treated like fallen and damaged products that sell at a discount. They look different but they have delicious alcohol on the inside. Please take them with you and let them live out their lives as delicious alcohol.”

Underneath the sign is a drawing of a wounded can shouting; “We will not be beaten by the earthquake!!”

These drinks were all being sold at their regular price in honor of their survival, and despite this, they’ve been selling well. One woman in her 80s who was interviewed while buying a heroic beer told NHK, “The stuff inside is the same, and once you drink it you throw away the can anyway, so I think this is a good idea.”

Sato was also quoted as saying, “The alcohol is more like my children than products. It makes me happy to see people put the dented cans in their baskets, knowing that they will go out and be enjoyed.”

He must be pretty happy, as starting off with a few dozen dented heroes, as of 16 February, there were only five left.

The following day Sato informed SoraNews24 that all of his heroes had found loving homes: “Thanks to everyone, they sold out earlier. It’s the customers who bought them who are the real heroes to our store.”

Readers of the news also applauded the idea that was equal parts common sense, business savvy, and sensitivity.

“I would buy it even if they raised the price a little.”
“That’s genius.”
“Cheers to these brave souls!”
“I’m a little unsure about this. When dropped the contents were shaken. They should check with the manufacturer first.”
“If it was dropped by a careless clerk or customer that’s one thing, but because it was an earthquake the damage was unavoidable, so I like this idea.”
“This looks like a good business with happy staff and customers who really care.”
“I also have a lot of scars, but I’m full price too!”

Some comments were worried this could lead to a slippery slope of businesses selling defective goods by coming up with a compelling backstory. It’s not an unfounded concern either, as just recently Sapporo Breweries got away with releasing a line of misspelled beer cans at full price and some free publicity to boot.

Still, without the inclusion of a major disaster, you can probably only go so far at trying to sell the public on damaged goods no matter how decorated they are. Otherwise I would have put up for auction that heroic can of coffee that I threw at a cockroach in the kitchen last June.

Source: NHK, Hachima Kiko
Images: Twitter/@utsukushimarock
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