• Kyodo

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Total shipments of beer and beerlike drinks dropped 1.0 percent in 2013 to 433.57 million cases, logging a record low for the ninth consecutive year, brewers said Thursday.

Beer sales last year were hit by poor weather conditions in summer that brought heavier than usual rainfall through early August, in addition to the ongoing shrinking of the domestic market due mainly to the aging population.

Shipments of regular beer fell 1.7 percent to 216.68 million cases, while those of low-malt beers dropped 6.3 percent to 58.68 million cases. Shipments of inexpensive, so-called third-category beer, grew 2.0 percent to a record 158.19 million cases, accounting for 36.5 percent of overall beer and beerlike beverage shipments.

Asahi Breweries Ltd. led five major breweries in market share for the fourth straight year with a 37.6 percent share. Kirin Brewery Co. came second with 34.8 percent, followed by Suntory Liquors Ltd. with 14.7 percent and Sapporo Breweries Ltd. with 12.0 percent.

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