August was hot in Japan - but not for beer

August was hot in Japan - but not for beer

Beer shipments in Japan last month came in flat on a year earlier according to recent figures, as happoshu continued its downward trend.

Numbers collated from the four major brewers in the country show that total domestic shipments of beer and beer-flavoured alcoholic drinks in August were down by 0.3% on the corresponding month a year ago. While beer shipments came in 0.1% up on August 2009, happoshu low-malt beer saw volumes plummet by 13.9%.

Happoshu has suffered sliding volumes in Japan every month for almost a year-and-a-half as beer-flavoured beverages – widely referred to as third-category beer – continue to appeal to consumers thanks to their lower price-point. Third-category beer shipments in August were up by 8%.

Japan spent much of August in the grip of a heatwave, with many consumers preferring soft drinks to beer, according to local media reports.

The slip in total beer and beer-flavoured drinks represented the first fall in three months.

The four brewers who provided the data are Asahi Breweries, Kirin Brewery Co., Suntory Holdings and Sapporo Breweries.