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  • Writer's pictureBy The Financial District

Asahi Tops Japan Beer Sales For 2022

Three of four major Japanese brewers posted a rise in sales of beer and beer-like drinks in 2022 from a year earlier, with Asahi Breweries Ltd. apparently taking the top spot for the first time in three years, their data showed, Kyodo News reported.

Photo Insert: Asahi seems to have dethroned Kirin as the top seller.

The results suggest more people are going out drinking amid the easing of coronavirus restrictions. The total sales volume of the four companies, also including Kirin Brewery Co., Suntory Spirits Ltd. and Sapporo Breweries Ltd., likely expanded by around 3 percent for the first increase in 18 years, Mainichi Shimbun also reported.

Asahi, which does not disclose sales volume, logged a 10 percent rise in value terms.

Judging from the market size and sales volume of the three other firms, Asahi seems to have replaced Kirin as the top seller. Sales volume at Kirin dropped 2 percent while that at Suntory and Sapporo grew 5 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

Kirin, which has expanded the lineup of home-use beer servers, experienced a slump last year in comparison with 2021 when it saw robust demand for drinking at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

Looking ahead, all the firms are working to strengthen their product appeal, believing a planned tax change later this year will help accelerate beer sales.

The government plans to unify tax rates on beer and beer-like drinks -- "happoshu" low-malt beer and low-priced "third-category" beer-like alcoholic beverages -- in stages by 2026, and in October this year the tax on regular beer will be reduced, narrowing the price difference with the other two types.

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