Beer, near-beer shipments fall 2.8%

JIJI

Beer and quasi-beer shipments fell 2.8 percent in August to their lowest level for the month since comparable data became available in 1992, figures from major brewers show.

The year-on-year drop to 40.96 million cases was led by slow shipments in the second half of the month amid heavy rain in western Japan and the Tohoku region, although shipments were brisk in the first half during a heat wave.

Shipments of traditional beer fell 6.0 percent to 20.7 million cases as sales to households and restaurants were slowed by bad weather.

Shipments of so-called third-segment beverages, which have little or no malt content and therefore are cheaper than real beer, grew 3.2 percent to 14.8 million cases, climbing for eighth months straight.

Sales of “happoshu,” a low-malt quasi-beer, meanwhile fell 5.2 percent to 5.5 million cases.

By maker, Asahi Breweries Ltd. and Kirin Brewery Co. logged declines, chiefly due to weak beer sales, while Suntory Liquors Ltd. and Sapporo Breweries Ltd. posted growth, thanks to high-end premium beers.