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Wine of the times: Beaujolais Nouveau released in Japan amid declining demand

Kyodo

The Beaujolais Nouveau 2017 vintage went on sale in Japan on Thursday, but with people’s tastes maturing, the traditional celebration of the French wine’s seasonal release is on the decline.

As imports of the wine from the Beaujolais region are expected to fall for the fifth consecutive year, the alcoholic beverage industry is studying various ways to boost demand.

“Now that the Japanese drink wine more frequently than before, the event (of celebrating the release of Beaujolais Nouveau) has become not so special,” an industry official said.

The volume of imports has almost halved since its peak in 2004 and has been on the decline since 2013, according to Mercian Corp., a unit of one of Japan’s largest beer makers, Kirin Holdings Co.

As part of efforts to promote the drinking of Beaujolais Nouveau with family and friends at home, Asahi Breweries Ltd. and Kirin have posted recommended accompanying meal recipes online.

Suntory Wine International Ltd. is intensifying promotions targeting companies, encouraging them to use the French wine at events where they want employees to build camaraderie.

Suntory Wine International is planning to enlist 11 companies, including Mitsubishi Electric Corp., in holding such events this year.