Kirin Brewery is to break with tradition later this year when it cuts its shipment prices, according to reports.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said this weekend that the Japanese company will price its beers independently of its three domestic competitors once revised liquor tax rates take effect in May.

With the tax on a 350ml can of beer expected to fall by JPY0.7, Asahi, Sapporo Breweries and Suntory have said that they will reduce their shipment prices by JPY0.75 shortly after the rates are lowered. Kirin, however, plans to reduce its shipment price by JPY1 (US$0.008, the report noted.

Kirin will also lower the price of its 633ml bottles by JPY1, while the other three brewers will cut their prices by JPY1.25 on a tax drop of JPY1.26.

Kirin's move away from the tradition of going along with the other brewers is an attempt to unseat Asahi as the market leader, the business paper said.

Last month, Kirin posted a 4.4% rise in net profit for 2005, despite a dip in group sales of 1.4%.