Japan's four leading brewers are planning to increase production of so-called "third beer" in order to keep up with demand, according to local reports.

Japanese newspapers said yesterday (9 June) that Asahi Breweries Ltd is planning to begin third-beer production at its plant in Fukushima Prefecture this month, giving it a fourth production site for the product and boosting its monthly production capacity by 35%.

Meanwhile, Suntory Ltd has invested JPY150m in upgrading production lines at its brewery in Gunma Prefecture near Tokyo and will begin producing both third beer and low-malt "happoshu" there this month.

It was also reported that Kirin Brewery Co is considering producing third beer at its Hokkaido brewery in northern Japan. Kirin already increased capacity for third beer production by 20% in April, and Sapporo is also thought to be planning to increase third beer output.