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Friday, October 14, 2011

Bad News For Breweries

A recent report notes that beer and 'beer-like' shipments in Japan have shrunk by 7.0 per cent or 36.72 million cases in September of 2011 because a series of strong typhoons caused a lack of business in the restaurant industry.

According to data based on sales figures from five of Japan's major brewers, the numbers mark a new low for the month of September, and was also the second consecutive month in which beer and beer-like shipments have declined. This is especially discouraging considering that during the summer of 2010, the very hot weather caused a spike in beer sales.

The shipments of beer between January and September 2011 have fallen a total of 3.4 percent, which equals  325.39 million cases, the lowest ever for the same period. Unlike in Canada and the U.S., a Japanese case holds 20 bottles of 633-ml.

Despite the bad news, Asahi Breweries Ltd. led for the second year in a row, with a market share of 38 per cent, followed by Kirin Brewery Co. at 36.4 per cent. Suntory Liquors Ltd. came in third at 13.2 per cent, while Sapporo Breweries Ltd. was fourth with an 11.5 per cent share with Orion Breweries based in Okinawa having a 0.9 per cent market share - despite shifts in numbers, this is the same position for the breweries for the nine-month period in 2010.

The numbers are a bit strange to Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife, who has noticed that here in Canada and the U.S., during bleaker economic periods, alcohol consumption tends to go up - even when money is scarce... kind of 'we ain't got no money, so let's all buy some booze, get drunk and forget all our troubles.' But evidently, Japan is not North America. 

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