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SAGA (Kyodo) Kidsbeer, a nonalcoholic brew aimed at children, is catching on with young drinkers and is posting monthly shipments of 75,000 bottles, according to maker Tomomasu Co.

The beverage, one of whose ingredients is the Latin American plant guarana, sells for around 380 yen per 330-milliliter bottle. The bottles themselves are colored brown to make the drink look even more like its more potent counterpart, the company said.

The drink started out as Guarana, a cola beverage that used to be sold at the Shitamachi-ya restaurant in Fukuoka, run by 39-year-old Yuichi Asaba.

Asaba renamed the sweet carbonated drink Kidsbeer, a move that made it an instant hit.

Asaba outsourced its production to Tomomasu, a beverage maker based in Ogi, Saga Prefecture.

Tomomasu tinkered with the drink by decreasing its sweetness and increasing its frothiness, the company said. It began shipping the transformed drink in late 2003.

Though the initial shipment was only 200 bottles per month, the beverage was soon adopted by other restaurants and even by department stores, which began offering it as a gift package.

Asaba said kids and other people “can raise a glass with this, even if they cannot drink any liquor.”

Satoshi Tomoda, president of the beverage maker, said: “Children copy and mimic adults.

“If you get this drink ready on such occasions as events and celebrations attended by kids, it would make the occasions even more entertaining.”

The Kidsbeer label captures a nostalgic mood as it was modeled after classic beer labels.

“Even kids cannot stand life unless they have a drink,” reads the product’s advertising slogan.

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