Kirin Brewery is due to add to its third-category beer stable in Japan, according to reports.

The company is set to release Sparkling Hop in the country in late October, JCN Network reported yesterday (21 August). The drink, which bypasses Japan's liquor tax system, is made of a mix of happoshu and spirits, the news service said. Made with Japanese and New Zealand hops, Sparkling Hop is classified as a liqueur, which carries a lower tax rate than beer and happoshu in the country.

Kirin already offers Ryoshitsu Sozai and Nodogoshi Nama in the category to its domestic customers.

Sparkling Hop will be available at JPY135 (US$1.17) per 350-millilitre can, with the company targeting sales in the region of 1.6m cases by the end of this year.

Earlier this month, Kirin's parent company, Kirin Holdings, saw net profits in the first six months of this year slide by 12%, coming in at JPY16.8bn (US$142.3m). The company blamed higher costs of raw materials and weak beer sales for the fall.