Food & Drink | KONBINI WATCH

A buzz too strong? Sangaria’s Super Strong Lemon and Sapporo’s Chuhai 99.99

by Patrick ST. Michel

Contributing Writer

The current trend in canned alcoholic beverages is to push the alcohol percentage up. Following the success of Suntory’s venerable Strong Zero range, more and more companies are rolling out concoctions that see how far they can push the booze content. The race is getting intense.

Super Strong Lemon is Lawson’s entry into the alcohol arms race and is a tie-up with beverage company Sangaria. This chūhai (¥130 for a regular can, ¥165 for a bigger one) is 12-percent alcohol by volume, pushing it to the edge of the current canned libation market. The lemon flavor helps cut the alcohol a little bit, but this beverage just goes too far for those looking for something to sip on.

If you’re not looking to let loose, you might be better off giving Sapporo’s Chuhai 99.99 a whirl. The drink (¥141 for regular, ¥191 for a bigger one) comes in lemon and “dry” flavors, and delivers a 9-percent punch, using unfiltered vodka to achieve the desired effect. It actually tastes sharper than Suntory’s Strong Zero, especially the lemon variety (somehow, the dry one ends up more drinkable). It’s not as overwhelming as the Super Strong Lemon, but will still deliver a pretty strong buzz.

I fear for whatever’s next.