Business / Corporate

Japan's four major brewers log sharp sales growth in September, buoyed by Rugby World Cup

JIJI

All four major Japanese brewers enjoyed double-digit sales growth for beer and beer-like products in September compared to the same month a year before, thanks to the ongoing Rugby World Cup in Japan, according to the companies’ data.

Since the start of the sporting event, large amounts of beer have been consumed — mainly by foreign visitors, who enjoy drinking beer while watching the matches.

The increases were also supported by a last-minute surge in demand before the consumption tax rate hike, from 8 percent to 10 percent, on Oct. 1.

The sales growth for all four companies came for the first time in two years and four months, since May 2017.

Kirin Holdings Co. saw its sales surge 24 percent on year, on the back of the strong sales of so-called third-segment beer-like beverage Honkirin and domestic production of Heineken beer. Dutch brewer Heineken NV is a Worldwide Partner of the Rugby World Cup.

Sales at Sapporo Holdings Ltd. rose 17 percent on year, while those of Suntory Holdings Ltd. were up 16 percent. Sales at Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. increased 11 percent.

Even though demand is expected to drop in October, after the surge before the tax hike, sales in the month are seen remaining strong with continuing special demand from the Rugby World Cup.