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JAPAN: Kirin, Suntory enter zero-carb happoshu sector

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Kirin Brewery and Suntory have both lined up additions to their happoshu portfolios in Japan.

The two companies said yesterday (5 December) that they will launch carbohydrate-free versions of the quasi-beer drink in the country in the first few months of next year. Local press has reported that Kirin will release Kirin Zero in Japan in February, with an annual sales target of around 4m cases. Suntory, meanwhile, will unveil Zero Nama in March, with a target of 7m cases for the first year.

The two additions join Asahi Breweries' Style Free happoshu brand, which is also carbohydrate-free, and was launched in March. Since launch, the drink has sold around 7.3m cases, proving particularly popular among health-conscious Japanese consumers.

Happoshu has proved popular with Japanese brewers in recent years, as sales of beer have slowed. Last month, statistics from the country's Brewers Association showed that shipments of beer and beer-like beverages in October were up by 0.8% on the corresponding period in 2006, reaching 39.3m cases.


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