As Japanese consumers become more health conscious, food and drink manufacturers need to adapt to new tastes. Attempting to take advantage of this new trend is Kirin Brewery Co., which has debuted a new carb-free beer to help it “find new beer fans.”

This new variety of Kirin’s Ichibanshibori brand has zero carbohydrates, but unlike other low-carb offerings, it isn’t happōshu (a beer-like beverage). This drink (¥217 after tax for a regular can) is actually beer, albeit slightly healthier than your average brew.

Good intentions don’t cover up for a slightly off taste. Kirin’s carb-free offering doesn’t have that weird, slightly unnerving, watered-down taste of happōshu, but it also doesn’t taste like the regular Kirin Ichibanshibori. It’s beer … but doesn’t really taste like it. The health benefits might be there, but it isn’t a first-choice drink.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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