Kirin Holdings is teaming up with its trans-Tasman unit Lion Nathan to jointly purchase raw materials in light of commodity cost increases.

The Japanese company said today (10 January) that it will begin full-scale joint procurement of hops with Lion Nathan after successful trials of the idea late last year. Kirin will be responsible for locating and buying European hops for the two companies, while Lion Nathan will handle procurement of New Zealand hops for itself and Kirin.

The announcement follows confirmation from several brewers around the world in the last few months that they were raising prices as a result of rising commodity costs. In December, Sapporo Breweries said it was upping prices for its beer and beer-like beverages, following Kirin itself and Asahi Breweries.

In October, Kirin Brewery, Kirin Beverage and Suntory teamed up to conserve resources and reduce packaging costs in Japan. The three Japanese companies plan to synchronise their aluminium can requirements, and jointly purchase cardboard packaging. The introduction of the uniformed cans, which narrow towards the top, will result in an estimated saving of around JPY100m (US$876.7m) per year, the companies said.

Kirin holds 46% control of Lion Nathan.