Shipments of “happoshu” low-malt beer from Japan’s five largest brewers rose 1.8 percent in May from a year earlier, their first increase in 22 months, industry figures showed Monday.
Total shipments of low-malt beer by Kirin Brewery Co., Asahi Breweries Ltd., Sapporo Breweries Ltd., Suntory Ltd. and Orion Breweries Ltd. reached 11.26 million cases, according to the Brewers Association of Japan and the brewers.
With the introduction of a new, so-called third-category beerlike drink, Asahi regained its position as the market leader from Kirin in May in the overall market for beer, low-malt beer and beerlike drinks for the first time in five months.
The total market for all three categories came to the equivalent of 38.93 million cases, up 0.3 percent, the first rise in two months.
Shipments of third-category beer tumbled 20.6 percent to the equivalent of 4.96 million cases, their first year-on-year decline since the beverage first appeared on the market in September 2003.
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