Asahi is reportedly set to invest JPY240bn (US$2.1bn) in domestic manufacturing over the next ten years, with most of the cash earmarked for upgrading production of its flagship Super Dry beer.

According to local reports today (11 January), Japan's biggest brewer has decided on major investment to improve both quality and profitability as domestic sales stagnate. In Asahi's most recent published figures, from January to November last year, the brewer saw domestic beer sales slide by over 6%.

Asahi's Super Dry products account for half of the company's sales and it plans to spend around JPY100bn modernising production facilities for the brand.

The Japanese beer market is seeing rising sales of low-priced "third beer," or non-malt beer, and low-alcohol beverages. Asahi said it would build lines able to produce different types of alcoholic beverages.

The investments are expected to slash production costs for 2006 by 20%.