Kirin Holdings and Sapporo Holdings are looking to merge their beer distribution in the north of Japan, according to local reports.

The Mainichi Shimbun said yesterday (24 April) that the two brewers will jointly distribute their products in the prefecture of Hokkaido, in the north of the country, starting from late May. The move is a reaction to rising petroleum prices in Japan, the paper said.

Kirin and Sapporo, the second and third largest brewers in Japan respectively behind Asahi, will consider broadening the tie-up to other parts of Japan over the course of 2008, the paper added.