New Low-Malt Beer for the Winter
Suntory was the first Japanese brewer to launch low-malt beers in Japan and for a few years Suntory was market leader. Demand for this type of beer has increased to above 20% total market share (beer and low-malt beer market), mostly driven by sales of rival Kirin Brewery's Tanrei Nama, which has pushed Suntory into second place. Kirin, Suntory and Sapporo have all relied on low-malt beers to help maintain volume while Asahi Breweries relentlessly eats away their regular beer market share.

Suntory has now launched Fudoraku Nama [nama means draft, fudoraku means pleasant winter journey]. This happoshu [sparkling malt beverages similar to beer but made with a low malt content] is designed to be consumed in the winter with hot meals. It is on sale for the winter season only. It has a slightly higher malt content and a refreshing flavor. The bitter taste is reduced to produce a clean aftertaste. 350 ml can Y145, 500 ml can Y195.

New Japanese Whisky
Suntory is market leader in Japan. Demand has been declining over a long period. Suntory hopes that this trendy new whisky will help to stimulate demand among younger people. Called Za [the name means in the company of friends], this new Japanese whisky is a blended grain whisky matured in casks with lids made in part of Japanese cedar (patent pending). This whisky has a refreshing aftertaste never before achieved. The cedar aroma has a relaxing effect; it goes well with Japanese cuisine. Alcohol content 40%. The logo (the word za in kanji) has been designed to look like a smiling face and the bottle has a distinctive shape. 700ml glass bottle Y1,880, 180ml glass bottle Y550, 50ml glass bottle Y220.

Low-Price Japanese Fruit Wines
Kikkoman: Mans Fruit Wine - Sparkling. The lightly sparkling versions of these low price Japanese fruit wines with a sweet mouthfeel are now launched. Easy to buy and easy to drink. Three varieties - grape and cranberry (white wine base with red wine and cranberries rich in polyphenols, fresh red color), grape and peach (white wine and peach juice), grape and apple (white wine and apple juice). 600ml glass bottle Y500 (wholesale price Y397). [The still varieties were reported in JAPANSCAN April 2000 number 254]

Coffee Beans from Australia
UCC Ueshima Coffee is launching UCC Irizu Australia [roast coffee beans from Australia]. A new line extension in this series of coffee beans packed in a paper composite can. The carbon dioxide generated by the coffee is automatically discharged and a special valve prevents external air from entering the packaging. The beans are 100% high quality Australian, supplied by the Skyberry plantation, with a flavor and richness that will appeal strongly to fans of this type of coffee bean. Also launched nationally at the same time is a hand-turned mill (suggested price Y698) especially for this range, enabling the appropriate quantity of coffee beans to be freshly ground. 150g can Y498 (suggested price). Initial annual sales target 10,000 cases.

Ready-to-Drink Mango Tea
Medium size dairy company Ohayo Nyugyo has developed an exotic variety of fruit tea -Ohayo Mango Kocha [mango black tea]. This new ready-to-drink black tea is made with Darjeeling leaf tea and the tropical fruit mango. This tea has a fruity and refreshing flavor. This is a delicious combination of the special sweet and tangy flavor of mango and the bitter flavor of tea. Fruit juice content 3%. 500ml gable-top carton Y100.

Milk Shake Drink with Egg Yolk
DyDo Drinco is launching a new milk shake drink for the winter called DyDo Kongari Milk Shake [kongari means light brown]. This new milk shake drink contains brown cane sugar and a high content of quality milk (22%). Added egg yolk imparts a home-made style. 280g Y120. Main sales route via vending machines [automatic vending machines are the main sales routes for canned soft drinks in Japan].

Acerola Drink Contains Natural Vitamin C
Nichirei is market leader in frozen foods, but is also in the health drinks market with a series of vitamin-fortified drinks containing acerola juice as the source of the vitamin C. Nichirei's new drink Acerola C 2000 is a fruit juice drink containing 200mg vitamin C per bottle. The original drink under the Nichirei Acerola brand is in a can and contains 100mg vitamin C per can. This new drink has two times the vitamin C content. The acerola fruit from the Caribbean is very rich in natural vitamin C (about 38 times as much as is in lemons). This drink has an acerola juice content of 50% to supply the 200mg of natural vitamin C. Small 75ml glass screw cap bottle Y150.

Lactic Acid Bacteria Drinks
Lactic acid bacteria drinks have been on the market in Japan for over 80 years. They are recognised as healthy drinks that help to keep the intestines in good condition. Medium size dairy company Ohayo Nyugyo has just launched a new series of lactic acid bacteria drinks containing mixed fruit and vegetable juice called Yasai Hiyori [fair weather vegetable]. Two varieties - fruit and carrot, green vegetable and fruit. Both drinks help to compensate for the deficiency in the daily diet of green and yellow vegetables. Their refreshing flavor makes them suitable for children. The fruit and carrot mix contains 10% carrot juice, 3% apple juice, 1% white grape juice and 1% lemon juice. The green vegetable and fruit mix contains 4% spinach, 1% kale, 1% asparagus, 4% apple and 2% lemon 1,000ml gable-top carton Y200.