Sales in Japan of beer and "happoshu" have benefited from a heat wave that hit the country in July, according to estimates from the brewers published in the Japanese press today.

Combined sales of beer and ''happoshu'' by Japan's top four brewers were up 8 to 9% in July compared to sales in the same month last year.

Kirin Brewery, Asahi Breweries, Sapporo Breweries and Suntory said that beer sales at restaurants saw an increase of more than 10%.

Kirin registered a sales increase of more than 10%, with Asahi logging a 14% increase. The reports said sales by Sapporo and Suntory were less impressive.