Suntory has taken the number three spot on the Japanese domestic beer market, leapfrogging Sapporo Breweries.

The news came as the Brewery Association of Japan revealed the fourth consecutive month of decline for beer shipments in Japan. Shipments of beer in Japan fell 11.5% in June compared to the same month last year.

Shipments from the country's five largest brewers fell to 96,063 kilolitres in the month, the Brewery Association of Japan said.

However, in the first half of the year, Suntory saw its total shipment of beer and beer-like beverages rise by 10.8% from the same period last year, to 28.14 million cases. The sales accounted for 13% of the Japanese beer market.

By comparison, Sapporo's total shipments dropped by 12.4%, to 26.16m cases, 12.1% of the market.

The market leader for the period continued to be Asahi Breweries with 37.5%, followed by Kirin Brewery with 36.7%.