Business / Corporate

All four major Japanese brewers see sales fall in October

JIJI

Sales of beer and beer-like products for all four major domestic brewers fell in Japan last month from a year earlier after the Oct. 1 consumption tax hike, data showed Wednesday.

A special boost from the Rugby World Cup, which brought many foreign visitors to Japan, was more than offset by lower demand, following a surge that preceded an increase in the tax rate from 8 percent to 10 percent.

Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. and Kirin Holdings Co. both posted a sales drop of 13 percent. Sales decreased 8 percent for Sapporo Holdings Ltd. and 6 percent for Suntory Beer Ltd.

Most of their mainstay beer products performed poorly. Sales of Asahi’s Super Dry fell by 12 percent, Kirin’s Ichibanshibori by 9 percent and Sapporo’s Black Label by 7 percent.

Meanwhile, Suntory saw sales of The Premium Malt’s remain flat, helped by the success of a marketing promotion to sell the beer with snacks.

Sales of Heineken beer more than doubled. Kirin Brewery Co., a subsidiary of Kirin Holdings, produces and sells the beer in Japan on behalf of Dutch brewer Heineken NV, the rugby tournament’s official sponsor.

The four Japanese brewers had seen their sales increase roughly 10 to 20 percent in September. Officials of the companies said the October decreases were smaller than expected.