Beer, quasi-beer shipments rise

JIJI

Beer and quasi-beer shipments in July rose 3.3 percent from year-ago levels to 44,374,000 cases, the first rise in two years for the month, data from four major brewers showed Monday.

The growth was led by brisk beer shipments in early July amid heat waves in the Kanto region, including Tokyo, and western Japan, where the rainy season ended earlier than usual.

Of the total, beer shipments rose 5.6 percent to 23,925,000 cases, with growth both in sales to restaurants and households.

Shipments of gift boxes of beer were up 8.3 percent, marking the first rise since 1997 for the month.

Shipments of so-called third-segment beerlike beverages, which have little or no malt content and, therefore, are cheaper than real beer, grew 2 percent to 14,763,000 cases, up for the seventh straight month.

Those of “happoshu” low-malt quasi-beer dropped 2.6 percent to 5,686,000 cases.

Each case contains the equivalent of 20 633-milliliter bottles.

By maker, Asahi Breweries Ltd. and Suntory Liquors Ltd. logged year-on-year increases in beer and beerlike beverage shipments due to strong sales of products for gifts.

Kirin Brewery Co. saw growth for commercial-use beer but suffered a fall in total shipments. Sapporo Breweries Ltd.’s mainstay Yebisu beer sold well but total shipments were slightly off.