January beer shipments drop 2.6%

Kyodo

Total shipments of beer and beerlike drinks fell 2.6 percent in January from a year earlier to 20.54 million cases, the third consecutive month of decline, industry data showed Wednesday.

The total was the second-lowest ever for a January, affected by cold weather across the country and snow in the Tokyo area, according to the data compiled by five major brewers.

Shipments of regular beer dropped 2.3 percent to 10.20 million cases and those of “happoshu” low-malt beer sank 10.4 percent to 3.05 million cases.

Shipments of low-priced “third-category” beer, however, set an all-time high for January, growing 0.7 percent to 7.29 million cases.

The five brewers are Asahi Breweries Ltd., Kirin Brewery Co., Sapporo Breweries Ltd., Suntory Liquors Ltd. and Orion Breweries Ltd.