JAPAN: Suntory readies happoshu exit - report

By | 26 July 2012

Suntory is set to pull out of the domestic happoshu market, according to local reports.

A story in The Daily Yomiuri last last week claims that the Japanese brewer has concluded production of its MD Golden Dry flagship happoshu brand, and will pull out of the category altogether before the end of this year. Suntory was the first brewer to move into happoshu in 1994 with Hop's Draft.

The happoshu category had found favour with Japan's brewers and beer consumers alike, thanks to its reduced malt content. The country has four tax categories for beverages that contain malt, with happoshu costing markedly less than beer whilst retaining a similar taste.

However, happoshu has since been usurped by so-called 'third-category beer', which tastes of beer but does not contain any malt and so cost even less than happoshu.

The Yomiuri report states that, in the first half of this year, Suntory saw its happoshu shipments come in 40% down on the corresponding period a year ago, accounting for 1.6% of the company's total volumes.

Expert analysis

Beer in Japan

Beer in Japan industry profile provides top-line qualitative and quantitative summary information including: market share, market size (value and volume 2006-10, and forecast to 2015). The profile also contains descriptions of the leading players including key financial metrics and analysis of competitive pressures within the market. Essential resource for top-line data and analysis covering the Japan beer market. Includes market size and segmentation data, textual and graphical analysis of market growth trends, leading companies and macroeconomic information.

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Suntory

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