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Beer shipments hit another low

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Shipments of beer and quasi-beer products in January-June fell to a record low for the sixth consecutive year, according to data released by five major domestic makers on Wednesday.

Total beer and quasi-beer shipments by Asahi Breweries Ltd., Kirin Co., Suntory Beer Ltd., Sapporo Breweries Ltd. and Orion Breweries Ltd. declined 3.6 percent from a year earlier to 183.37 million cases. Each case contains the equivalent of 20 633-milliliter bottles.

Of the total, beer shipments dropped 6.3 percent, due partly to higher retail prices following the implementation of stricter restrictions on discount sales of alcohol products in June 2017.

Furthermore, wholesale prices were hiked this spring, leading to higher charges at some bars and restaurants.

While shipments of “happoshu” low-malt beer-like drinks also shrank, by 8.4 percent, those of lower-priced “third segment” quasi-beer products increased 1.9 percent, the first rise in five years, reflecting persistent money-saving attitudes among consumers and new product launches.

The increase in third-segment beverage shipments was partly attributed to the replacement by retail giant Aeon Co. in June of a South Korean maker with Kirin as the producer of its private-brand products.

In the overall market for beer and quasi-beer goods, Asahi held a share of 37.6 percent, followed by Kirin, with 34 percent, Suntory, with 16.3 percent, Sapporo, with 11.2 percent, and Orion, with 0.9 percent.Speech

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