Business

Rugby World Cup organizers express concern over beer stocks as Japan girds for thirsty foreign fans

JIJI

The Japanese organizing committee of the 2019 Rugby World Cup is calling on business operators in cities that host games to secure sufficient beer supplies in preparation for the expected arrival of beer-guzzling fans from abroad.

On the occasions of past World Cup matches, many restaurants and bars ran out of beer, the organizers said.

During the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England, beer consumption at games was more than six times the amount consumed during soccer games at the same venues, according to the committee.

Total beer consumption during the last quadrennial event stood at 1.9 million liters, including sales at public viewing sites. Of the total, 1.3 million liters was consumed at game venues.

More than 400,000 foreign nationals are forecast to visit Japan during the World Cup, which will start in September.

The organizing committee has held briefing sessions in the cities of Sapporo and Oita, which are expected to receive visits by particularly large numbers of foreign nationals among the 12 host cities.

The committee warned restaurant and hotel operators that running out of beer would cost them lucrative business opportunities and could prompt bad publicity to be spread on social media.

“After explanations by the organizing committee, not only restaurants but also wholesalers took it as a realistic problem,” an official from Oita Prefecture said.

The prefectural government has asked four major brewers to bolster their beer supply systems, according to the official.

It has also called on restaurants and bars to extend business hours so that visitors can enjoy drinking beer after games and cautioned all-you-can-drink establishments against running out of stock.

“We hope they will pump up the event while taking care to ensure enough beer is in supply during the event,” the official said.

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