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Food & Beverage

Blue Bottle Coffee tries Tokyo vending machines to boost sales

Company skirts brick-and-mortar to sell premium drinks and beans on the street

Blue Bottle Coffee's vending machines in Tokyo. (Photo by Kotaro Sugimoto)

TOKYO -- Blue Bottle Coffee Japan has installed vending machines selling coffee beans and canned coffee in Tokyo's busy Shibuya district, as the company tries to attract customers without investing in an actual store in the area.

It is the first time the company has used vending machines.

Two machines were recently installed in a parking lot operated by Mitsui Fudosan Realty near the area's main station. The machines sell three different kinds of canned coffee for 640 yen ($6) each, as well as its Bella Donovan mix of Ethiopian and Indonesian coffee beans popular at Blue Bottle stores. The machines also dispense instant coffee and mugs.

Blue Bottle says if the two Shibuya machines are successful, it may expand installations to other areas.

The company also said that sales of coffee beans are rising as more people stay home due to the spread of COVID-19. A company representative wants consumers to "enjoy buying [their products] from machines and enjoy them at home."

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