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Breweries have watched beer drinkers defect to cheaper brews in recent years, but now they are beginning to see a small but growing group of consumers willing to pay more for premium beers.

Sapporo Breweries Ltd. said Thursday it will release a limited batch of premium beer on March 15. Sapporo Hatake ga Mieru beer uses only barley and hops from 118 German farmers directly contracted by the brewery.

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