Shipments of beer and beerlike drinks posted a record low in the January-March quarter, falling 2.7 percent from a year earlier to 83.87 million cases, according to industry data released as of Wednesday.
Shipments of regular beer dropped 5.7 percent to 39.48 million cases, while those of “happoshu” low-malt beer declined 7.7 percent to 12.11 million cases, according to data from the five major breweries.
Relatively inexpensive “third-category beer,” however, rose 3.4 percent to 32.28 million cases, reaching a record high.
Asahi Breweries Ltd. captured a leading share of 36.3 percent, followed by Kirin Brewery Co. at 35.3 percent, Suntory Liquors Ltd. at 16.1 percent and Sapporo Breweries Ltd. at 11.3 percent.
Sapporo goes no-purine
Sapporo Breweries Ltd. is planning to release on June 19 a sparkling alcoholic beverage called Goku-zero that it says contains almost no carbohydrates or purine bodies.
Consumers have become increasingly sensitive to purine content in beers and beerlike beverages as the nitrogen-containing aromatic organic compound is believed to make humans more prone to developing gout.