Beer shipments hit record low in first half of ’13

Kyodo, JIJI

Total shipments of beer and beerlike beverages in Japan in the first half of 2013 posted a record low for the six-month period, falling 0.9 percent from a year earlier to 199.29 million cases, industry data showed Wednesday.

The lowest numbers for the January-June period on record, which the industry began keeping in 1992, were attributed to fewer business days in June, which limited shipments, according to data from Japan’s five major brewers. Each case holds 20 633-milliliter bottles.

Shipments of regular beer dipped 1.9 percent to 96.02 million cases, and “happoshu” low-malt beer dropped 6.3 percent to 27.77 million cases, while those of relatively inexpensive beerlike “third category beer” were brisk, up 2.7 percent to 75.49 million cases.

In June alone, shipments of beer and beerlike beverages fell 4.1 percent from the year earlier for the first drop in three months.

Meanwhile, shipments of beer for restaurants and pubs posted a rise. An increasing number of people are starting again to drink outside, an Asahi Breweries Ltd. official said.

By maker, Asahi Breweries ranked top, with its products accounting for 37.1 percent of the total shipments. Kirin Brewery Co. came second with a 35.0 percent share, followed by Suntory Liquors Ltd. with 15.1 percent, Sapporo Breweries Ltd. with 11.9 percent and Orion Breweries Ltd. with 0.9 percent.

  • Jeffrey

    The missing data from this report is how much, if at all, the sales of craft beers have changed. My guess is that they are up the same or a greater percentage as the decline in supermarket sales of the Big Three.

  • Chris Poel

    Jeffrey, exactly right! Craft beer — and imported craft beer — is a booming segment of the beer market here, but that never shows up in any of these “official” stats.