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JAPAN: Low malt alternatives hit traditional brews

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Traditional beer continues to suffer at the hands of low-malt alternatives in Japan, as the latest figures show that shipments of traditional beer fell 14.7% in March from a year earlier.

Low-malt "happoshu", meanwhile continued to surge, as the tough financial conditions drove Japanese consumers to the cheaper brew, which classifies for a lower tax bracket.
 
Industry figures from Japan's five main brewers released on Wednesday showed that traditional beer shipments totaled 333,199 kilolitres (kl) - the 24th straight month of year-on-year decline. Shipments of happoshu, rose for the 70th month in a row, up 22.7% year-on-year to 216,275 kl.

Happoshu held a 39.4% share of the total beer market in March, down, however, from a record 43.5% share in February. Despite the success of the low-malt brews, it was not enough to spur growth overall in the beer market, which fell 3.1% from a year earlier.


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