Japan brewers boost nonalcoholic beer production
Nikkei -- Jun 18
With their nonalcoholic beers gaining popularity and sales of the real stuff declining, Japan's Kirin Brewery and Suntory Beer are switching gears.

Kirin plans to boost monthly production of its Zeroichi, which is selling beyond the company's expectations, to three times the initial target, while Suntory is increasing the June-July production of its All-Free by about 10% from a year ago. This will lift Suntory's full 2017 production target by 4%, to 7.2 million cases [one case equals 20 633ml bottles].

The industry says more Japanese are turning to these and similar products so they can feel as though they are out drinking while really at work or doing daytime chores.

Kirin sold 630,000 cases of Zeroichi -- nearly 50% of its initial annual target -- in just two months.

Suntory estimates that nonalcoholic beer sales in Japan will grow 2% this year to 18 million cases.

On the other side of the coin, sales of regular beer are on the wane. This is not likely to change, considering the National Tax Agency on June 1 began clamping down on what it calls excessive discounts on alcoholic beverages.

News source: Nikkei
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