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Beer shipments sink to record low

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Beer and quasi-beer shipments in Japan in January-June fell 1.3 percent from a year earlier to 190.25 million cases, hitting a record low for the fifth straight year on a first-half basis, data from five major brewers showed Wednesday.

The continued slump reflected the country’s aging population and the growing popularity of other alcoholic drinks, such as canned chuhai spirits, industry sources said. Each case contains the equivalent of 20 633-milliliter bottles.

Prices of most beer and quasi-beer products were raised on June 1 mainly because the revised liquor tax law was enforced to ban excessive discounts.

The impact of the price hikes has so far been neutral as a whole because a surge in sales in May was canceled out by a fallback in June, the sources said.

Many industry people are concerned the price increases will continue to put a damper on beer and quasi-beer demand in the second half of 2017. The markups “will start to affect sales from now,” an official of a major brewer said.

Shipments decreased 1.4 percent to 94.21 million cases for beer, 2.4 percent to 26.36 million cases for happoshu low-malt quasi-beer and 0.7 percent to 69.67 million cases for so-called third-segment beer-like beverages.Speech

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