• Kyodo


Total shipments of beer and beerlike drinks dropped 1.0 percent last year to 438.11 million cases, hitting a record low for the eighth consecutive year, industry data showed Wednesday.

Beer sales were hit by the economic slowdown and poor weather conditions in the latter half of 2012 as well as robust sales of other alcoholic beverages, including wine, according to data released by five major brewers.

Shipments of regular beer, which in 2011 accounted for less than half of the total for the first time, recovered to 50.3 percent of the total due to the introduction of new products and renewal of existing ones, with 220.44 million cases shipped in 2012, down 0.3 percent from the year before.

Low-priced beers known as third-category beers logged record highs in both shipments and percentage among total beer sales with 155.01 million cases, up 1.1 percent. Shipments of low-malt beers dropped 7.9 percent to 62.64 million cases.