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Asahi Breweries announces low-sugar beer, first new brand in seven years

JIJI

Asahi Breweries Ltd. said Wednesday it plans to launch a new beer with 50 percent less sugar.

The product, named The Dream, will appear on March 23. It will be the company’s first new beer in seven years intended for year-round sale, excluding spinoffs from its mainstay Super Dry.

Asahi Breweries said is has signed up rugby superstar Ayumu Goromaru to advertise the tipple, including in TV commercials.

The nation’s beer market is shrinking, partly because rival products such as chuhai (spirits and soda) drinks and whiskey are eating into the market.

“We will make 2016 a year of beer revival,” President Akiyoshi Koji said Wednesday at a briefing on the firm’s business plan.

The Dream is described as having a full body with 20 percent more malt than conventional products. A 350-milliliter can will retail for around ¥225.

The company has a 2016 sales target of 4 million cases of the beer. One case contains the equivalent of 20 633-milliliter bottles.

Last year, Asahi Breweries sold 106.1 million cases of beer, down 2 percent from the previous year. This year, total beer sales are seen as rising 2.3 percent to 108.5 million cases, thanks partly to an expected boost from the new product.