UCC Ueshima Coffee Company

UCC Ueshima Coffee Company: Competing with a Multinational Giant

UCC Ueshima Coffee Company


Towards the end of the 2000s, the UCC Ueshima Coffee Co tapped CIA to help its 70-year old brand compete versus international giants like Starbuck and regain market relevance.

What we did

Marketing Strategy

Brand Identity Development

Menu Development

Store Design Development

Prototype Store Development

Product Design & Development

No items found.

Our Process

CIA embarked on its patented Futurology Branding process, immersing in the market and UCC’s history. CIA found UCC’s brand DNA embedded in its historical origins as Japan’s first coffee house in 1933. Back then, UCC was known for brown sugar “kokuto” milk coffee. CIA found out that the old UCC trucks back then were painted with an ad that said “All the cultural, cool people drink coffee.”


By 2008, CIA developed and launched the “Ueshima Coffee Lounge,” inspired by the original Japanese kissa cafes, with interiors designed in a sophisticated, comfortable style inviting customers to leisurely enjoy their coffee or to dine from a full-course menu. The food menu was designed and developed to serve original top quality dishes. By 2016, there were over 115 stores across Japan, generating approx.. USD 60 million in sales.

This partnership evolved to more projects as CIA began helping UCC redesign its various bottled products sold in supermarkets and convenience stores all over Japan. To do these redesigns, CIA’s design and strategy teams immersed in the market, studying the major trends and practices in the stores and understanding what would connect better with its customers. These new redesigns have given UCC tremendous success. For example, the redesign for the milk coffee led to a one year sales of 1 million cases representing a 185% sales growth.

In 2017, CIA and UCC again teamed up to design the Ueshima Coffee Lounge No. 11, a new concept shop that brings into the modern era the classic legacy of Japan’s “kissaten” café culture and the 80-year old soul of Ueshima Coffee.

No items found.

Result &

CIA produced “Ueshima Coffee Lounge No. 11” to be a place that represents both the origin and the future of Ueshima Coffee Lounge. It is a place for the continuous research, creation and innovation of “Real Drip Coffee” as well as a lounge experience where guests can enjoy “Precious Coffee Moments.”

The spacious lounge features jazz records, books and furniture that define the “cool and cultural” UCC customer. CIA’s designers and artists painted some of the artworks that hang on the walls and designed the icons and on some of the UCC coffee beans sold in the store.