Japan: May 'happoshu' low-malt beer shipments up 1st time in 22 months
Shipments of "happoshu" low-malt beer from Japan's five top brewers in May grew 1.8 percent from a year earlier for the first upturn in 22 months, industry figures showed June 12. Shipments by Kirin Brewery Co., Asahi Breweries Ltd., Sapporo Breweries Ltd., Suntory Ltd. and Orion Breweries Ltd. came to a total of 11.26 million cases, according to the Brewers Association of Japan and the brewers. One case holds 20 633-milliliter glass bottles.
With the introduction of a new, so-called third-category non-malt beer-like drink, Asahi apparently regained the position as top shareholder in the market for beer and beer-like drinks from Kirin in May for the first time in five months.
The overall market totaled the equivalent of 38.93 million cases, up 0.3 percent for the first rise in two months.
Shipments of third-category beer tumbled 20.6 percent to the equivalent of 4.96 million cases, the first year-on-year fall since the debut of such drinks in September 2003.
Shipments of regular beer came to the equivalent of 22.7 million cases, a rise of 5.6 percent, on brisk demand for high-quality beer and beer for large-lot customers.
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