Japanese shipments of beer and "happoshu", the low-malt beer, by Japan's five top brewers fell 11.4% in January, compared to the same period last year, to 24.23m cases.

Brewers blamed a lack of product innovation in the month and heavy demand a month earlier for the fall.

Beer shipments fell 12.7% to 15.29m cases, declining for the 46th month in a row. Shipments of happoshu shipments fell 8.9% to 8.94m cases, down for the first time in three months.

According to statistics from the top brewers, this was the first total year-on-year decline in two months.

Japan's top five brewers are Kirin Brewery Co, Asahi Breweries Ltd, Sapporo Holdings Ltd, Suntory Ltd and Orion Breweries Ltd.