• Kyodo News

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Domestic shipments of beer and beerlike beverages rose in May for the first time in four months thanks to a rise in “third-category” beer, industry data showed Tuesday.

Overall shipments rose 5.2 percent compared with a year ago to 40.94 million cases, according to beer producers and the Brewers Association of Japan.

Shipments of third-category beer, mostly nonmalt sparking drinks that taste similar to beer, soared 70.5 percent compared with the previous year, when sales slumped after the government imposed a higher tax levy on them.

In contrast, shipments fell 4.2 percent for real beer and 4.7 percent for the low-malt quasibeer known as “happoshu.”

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