Only in Tokyo would there be a secondhand booze shop.
If you’re a fan of Japanese stuff in the U.S., you probably already know about the secondhand book chain called Book Off, which has locations in NYC, California, and Hawaii.
The premise of this store is exactly the same, but for unwanted booze instead of books.
They won’t accept anything that’s been opened. Instead, what they’re looking for is that musty old sherry that Great Aunt Fran gave you for your birthday 10 years ago, or that 750ml bottle of beer your cousin gave you just to spite your no-carb diet. Then, they sell it on to other customers for a discount.
How much of a discount? As an example, that barrel of Kirin above normally retails for ¥215 ($2.10) a can. At ¥190 ($1.86), it’s not a huge discount—but we’re hoping that just like other liquor stores, deeper discounts might occur on pricier bottles, or when sales or clearance events happen. And if you’re really hard off and need liquor, anything helps.
Tokyo Desu explains this unfamiliar phenomenon of “unwanted booze”: “[Parent company Hard Off] realized that many people send alcohol—often beer—to each other as “ochugen” (お中元）gifts, which no one necessarily asks for. Chugen is a holiday that traditionally took place on July 15 but now sort of gets folded in with Obon as a general celebratory period during the summer.”
So basically, Liquor Off is there to help you drink what you want—at a reasonable discount—all year long.
Bonus: no need to regift when you can make money on your unwanted booze! Then you can spend it on booze you actually want to drink.
If you’re in Tokyo and want to visit, here’s a map to fulfill your discount booze dreams.