Japanese brewer, Asahi, has acquired the alcohol interests of the chemicals group, Kyowa Hakko Kogyo, for around Y20 billion (US$150.7m). With around 350 employees, Kyowa Hakko manufactures a range of alcoholic drinks including shochu. The deal will make Asahi Japan's second largest producer of shochu.

The move is part of Asahi's declared strategy of strengthening its core activities in the liquor sector. Last year, it entered the low-priced, low-malt beer market, for the first time, assisting the company in regaining the number one position by volume in the Japanese beer market from Kirin.