A selection of new drinks launched in Japan recently:

Sapporo Breweries: Guinness Extra Stout. This is a product relaunch of this stout type beer imported from Ireland. Guinness is brewed traditionally from roasted malt to achieve the rich dark color and flavor. This is a top-fermented beer with a rich fine head of foam. A unique beer with a mellow and full-bodied flavor. The relaunch relates to a new label design which reverts to the traditional old-style design. The packs involved are the short-neck bottle and the can and a carry case for 6 bottles. No size or price quoted

Low-Alcohol Cocktails
Suntory: Suntory H. A new dry type of low-alcohol cocktail in two varieties - clear dry, spicy. The clear dry variety has a citrus fruit flavor, the spicy variety has a hot and stimulating chili pepper flavor [chili is very much in fashion at present]. This drink has a vodka base and is strongly carbonated. Alcohol content 6%. The letter H in the name is intended to be pronounced in the French manner. Packed in a stylish clear glass bottle with a pull-top Maxicap 300 ml Y240, 24 per case. Sales target 2 million cases.

New Type of Sparkling Sake
Nakano Shuzo: Awawa a new type of naturally sparkling pure rice sake. The brewer claims this is a unique product with a new refreshing mouthfeel and flavor. This new alcoholic beverage is lightly sparkling with a refreshing acidity similar to yogurt. It is produced by a special fermentation process. It is made entirely from rice (with no fillers or additives) and natural water from Mt Fuji. This pure rice sparkling sake has an alcohol content of 6.5%. It is a turbid liquid with a milky white color. 300 ml screw cap glass bottle Y330, 12 per case.

Kirin Seagram: Seven Days. This Californian wine is bottled in Japan by Kirin Seagram. It is a joint development between a Californian winery and Kirin Brewery. This wine is in small bottles to drink with a meal. No size or price details given. The plant is Japan has just been awarded ISO 9001.

Regular Coffee
Key Coffee: Key Coffee Toarco Toraja First Crop. This flagship Key Coffee brand coffee beans product has been popular with coffee fans since it first went on sale in 1978. For ten years now, the first crop of these coffee beans have been made available to order as a super premium coffee gift set. New for this year is 15 C fixed temperature transportation of the fresh coffee beans from the plantation through import and storage prior to roasting. This 15 C temperature is also maintained during storage and distribution after roasting. This further preserves the flavor and aroma of these carefully selected coffee beans from the first harvesting, and is an appropriate innovation for the first crop of the new millennium. 4 x 200 g coffee bean gift set, Y8000 (excluding tax). Sales limited to 5000 sets. Pre-ordering in May, available at the end of June.

Caramel Sauce for Coffee
Melodian: Melodian a la Cafe Caramel, a caramel flavor sauce to be used to sweeten coffee. Portion packed for use with ice coffee or hot coffee to make a delicious cup of caramel coffee at home. Can also use it as a topping on bread or ice cream. Aseptically packed in light-impermeable packaging material. 6 x 10 ml single portions per bag Y150.

Ready-to-Drink Coffee
Asahi Beverage: Asahi Wonda Hawaiian ICE. An authentic ready-to-drink ice coffee using 100% Kauai coffee beans, regarded as the top American coffee bean in terms of production quantity and quality. These beans offer a refreshing flavor suited to a summer ice coffee. The beans are evenly roasted using hot air to develop a rich, mellow flavor with a low level of bitterness and acidity and a full aroma. 280 g can Y115, 24 per case. The sales projection to the end of September 2000 is 700,000 cases.

Ready-to-Drink Black Tea
DyDo Drinco: DyDo Ti-Ha. Ready-to-drink premium milk tea. A luxurious blend of Indian Darjeeling, Ceylon Uva and Earl Grey tea. This drink has a high milk content (25%). Following the success of the 190 g can, Ti-Ha is now introduced in a 350 ml PET bottle. This drink is made using 1.5 times the standard quantity of leaf tea. 350 ml PET bottle Y147. National launch.

Fruit Juice Drinks
Coca-Cola Group: Kyun - Citrus and Cherry. A new variety in the Kyun brand fruit juice drinks. A citrus blend with added cherry juice containing fruit pulp. 20% fruit juice content. Tangy and refreshing, with a healthy image. Low calorie and a 250 ml portion contains the daily requirement of vitamin C. 340 g and 245 g can Y115; new small size 155 g can Y80, 500 ml PET bottle Y147. National launch.

Near Water Drinks
Asahi Soft Drinks: Asahi Mitsuya Sawayaka Genki Ume [Mitsuya brand refreshing vitality - Japanese apricot]. This carbonated soft drink contains Japanese apricot pulp and 3% fruit juice. It has less sweetness for a more refreshing flavor. A 500 ml bottle contains 25 mg of Japanese apricot extract. 6 x 160 ml cans Y438, 350 ml can Y115, 500 ml PET bottle Y140, 1.5 liter PET bottle Y320

Functional Milk Products
Calpis Co.: Calpis Sannyu Bifidus Life [sannyu is lactic fermented milk]. This lactic acid bacteria drink also contains natural soybean oligosaccharide and many different vitamins. Produced using this company's unique lactic acid bacteria fermentation technology, this drink is based on the drink Calpis. Calpis is skim milk subjected to lactic fermentation by lactic acid bacteria and yeasts, it is similar to kefir. The natural soybean oligosaccharides in this drink promote the growth of bifidus bacteria in the intestines and suppress the growth of pathogenic organisms, thus maintaining the health of the intestines. The bifidus bacteria prevent constipation, prevent invasion of the intestines by pathogenic organisms and prevent disease of the bowels. The drink Calpis also has a beneficial effect on blood pressure and fatigue. This drink has multi-functional effects. In addition it is a non-fat drink with no added sugar (sucrose), fortified with vitamins B1, B2 and E. Aimed at women concerned about their health, this drink is good for the skin and for general health. It is expected that this drink will receive FOSHU approval and join the other approved products from this company. 160 g glass bottle Y143, 24 per case, refrigerated storage.

Functional Drinks
Shimodoen: Maitake Green Tea [translation]. This powdered functional drink contains maitake edible fungus [Grifola frondosa] which has anti-cancer beta-glucan and which has also shown to be effective against hyperlipidemia, diabetes and high blood pressure as well as increasing the power of the immune system. Green tea catechins have been shown to have anticancer effect, antioxidant effect, antimicrobial and antivirus effects as well as preventing dental caries and halitosis. During animal experiments to test the antimicrobial effect of this product, it was found to be effective against MRSA [methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus] a cause of infections in hospitals. Both the fungus and the green tea used are organically cultivated. 40 g (40 x 1 g stick sachets) Y3,000.

Vitamin Drinks
Calpis Co.: Calpis nude. A no-calorie and no-sugar soft drink which is a vitamin supplement drink. Very lightly carbonated drink in 2 flavors - lemon, grapefruit. Refreshing and thirst quenching, this new type of soft drink was first launched in 1997. It is fortified with vitamins B6, C and E. Claimed to be a cosmetic drink, the name nude implies good skin tone. Now the pink grapefruit flavor is relaunched with improved flavor using unique technology and a new pack design and the word NEW prominently on the front label. 350 ml can Y115 24 per case, 500 ml PET bottle Y140 24 per case, 1.5 liter PET bottle Y330, 8 per case.

Baby Foods
Morinaga Milk Ind: Morinaga Drinks for Baby - Ion Drink [translation]. These isotonic drinks for babies has less sweet taste for a refreshing means to supply water to babies. Two varieties - aqua sana apple, aqua sana peach. 3 x 100 ml glass bottles Y360.

Milk Drinks
Koiwai Nyugyo: Koiwai Honey Milk [translation]. This milk drink is made from fresh milk and honey. Fresh milk content 88%. Sweetened only with clover honey for a delicious natural flavor. Non-fat milk solids 8.0%, milk fat 3.0%. 200 ml LL brick carton just the right size for this type of drink Y105, ambient storage.

Published in JAPANSCAN Food Industry Bulletin - June 2000 - http://www.japanscan.com