August 6, 2008

Kirin’s Beer Plants at Full Capacity in Hot Summer

Tokyo, Aug. 6 (Jiji Press)--Kirin Brewery Co. started increasing its output of beer and quasi-beer beverages this month to meet growing demand in the hot summer, company officials told Jiji Press on Wednesday.

The company currently is running its five plants in Japan at full capacity, thanks especially to strong demand for "happoshu" low- malt beer-like beverages and so-called third-segment alcoholic beverages with little or no malt content, the officials said.

Kirin aims to advantage of the hot weather to boost beer sales after it faced weak demand in the first half of this year due partly to the first price increases for about 18 years.

Kirin's sales of beer and quasi-beer beverages increased nearly 10 pct in volume year on year in July, the officials said.

In particular, shipments were solid for third-segment alcoholic beverages, including "Nodogoshi Nama" and "happoshu" drinks such as "Kirin Tanrei Nama."

As the hot weather continues in August, production is set to be about 20 pct greater than earlier planned for "Nodogoshi Nama" and 15 pct higher for "happoshu" drinks, the officials said.

Among other Japanese brewers, Asahi Breweries Ltd. expects its sales to increase 7-8 pct in July. The company boosted production of third-segment alcoholic beverages by 60 pct in July and August.

Suntory Ltd. appears to have boosted its sales by about 35 pct and Sapporo Breweries Ltd. about 10 pct. END

(c) 2008 Jiji Press English News Service. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.