Sapporo and Suntory are to expand their so-called 'third beer' portfolios. The two Japanese brewers plan to enhance their operations in the sector in the face of declining regular and low-malt beer shipments in the first 11 months of this year.

Up until the end of November this year, Japan's top five breweries have seen regular and low-malt beer shipments slide by 4.8% year-on-year. Including the 'third beer' category, however, shipments remained nearly flat for the period. Both Sapporo and Suntory expect the 'third beer' category to grow more popular going forward.

Sapporo has changed the recipe for its Draft One third beer and will add a 250ml can to its line-up in late January. The company also intends to launch a sales promotion campaign from mid-January to late-March.

Suntory, meanwhile, will introduce a revamped Super Blue to the market in late-January. The new drink will use low-malt beer containing twice as much malt as the current product.