Asahi Breweries has just held off Kirin Breweries from the top spot for Japanese domestic beer shipments in the year so far, according to recent figures.

A report released today (11 October) by the Brewers Association of Japan said that Asahi held a 37.8% share of the Japanese beer and beer-like market in the nine months to September, ahead of Kirin, which held 37.6%.

Sapporo held third place, with 12.7%, with Suntory fourth (11%) and Orion fifth (0.8%).

Total shipments from these five brewers slid slightly in the period, however, by 1.3% year-on-year to 363.47m cases. Regular beer and happoshu sales were down slightly in the period, while the so-called third-category beer category saw sales rise.

All brewers in the country benefited from a heatwave in August, the association said last month. Total beer and beer-like shipments in August rose by 1.2% year-on-year.