• Kyodo News

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Shipments of beer and beerlike alcoholic drinks in 2008 slid 2.7 percent from a year earlier to 482.68 million cases, the fourth straight annual drop and the lowest level since 1991, when the current data-compiling system was adopted, according to reports released by Japan’s top five brewers Thursday.

The weak data are attributable partly to falling consumption among young people and price hikes, they said. One case holds 20 633-ml bottles.

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