Kirin has announced its plans for 2005. The Japanese brewer said today (12 January) that it will launch a new beverage, but expects a drop in beer and happoshu sales going forward.

Kirin plans to step into the beer-flavoured beverage arena, and aims to sell 19.7m cases of the new product in 2005.

At the same time, Kirin said it predicts a 9% fall in sales volumes of regular beer and happoshu to 162m cases this year. Including the new product, however, Kirin said it expects a 2.1% rise in total beer sales to 181.7m cases.

The brewer, known for its flagship "Lager" beer, said it sold 178m cases of beer and happoshu in 2004, down 2.8% from a year earlier.

Kirin will join Suntory, Sapporo and Asahi in the beer-flavoured beverage sector this year.