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Combined domestic shipments of beer and “happoshu” low-malt beer by Japan’s five major brewers dropped 5.9 percent in August from a year earlier, according to shipment figures released Friday.

Beer and happoshu shipments by Kirin Brewery Co., Asahi Breweries Ltd., Sapporo Breweries Ltd., Suntory Ltd. and Orion Breweries Ltd. totaled 44.05 million cases.

One case holds 12.66 liters, or the equivalent of 20 633-ml bottles.

The fall in shipments, the first in two months, came after a 9 percent surge in July, when demand for beer shot up amid a heat wave.

Brewers blamed the drop in demand in August to fewer outings to restaurants as people stayed at home to watch the Athens Olympics broadcasts on TV.

Brewers said unfavorable weather conditions, including typhoons, and long summer vacations also weakened beer consumption.

Shipments of regular beer fell 4.8 percent to 28.56 million cases, and those of happoshu dropped 7.7 percent to 15.48 million cases.

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