This decline has been arrested by the happoshu
fad, but that category has also begun to decline.
The product got off to a good start in the happoshu
market where various brewers' happoshu
brands took blows from buoyant sales of a range of a beer-like sparkling alcoholic beverage, dubbed ''third-category'' beer.
Aqua Blue, the third happoshu
product from Asahi Breweries, will be put on sale starting July 16 at 145 yen for a 350-milliliter can.
The move will leave the comprehensive alcoholic beverage maker with three happoshu
brands -- ''Magnum Dry Sokaijikomi,'' ''Junnama'' and ''Diet Nama.
He said the panel will instead propose that the gap between happoshu
and beer be reduced.
has been less costly than beer, and the new "beer like" drinks come in about 15% cheaper than happoshu
If the increase in the combined shipment of beer and happoshu
were to eclipse the 10 percent line, it would be the first double-digit increase since January 1998.
There are various arguments,'' Koizumi told reporters, referring to the proposal to raise the happoshu
tax and reduce tax imposed on beer, its main competitor, to bring the rates closer.
5 percent "due to the relatively cool summer as well as a tax increase for happoshu
, Kirin said.
Four leading Japanese brewers incurred drops in sales of beer and ''happoshu
'' low-malt beer in 2003 from the previous year due to unseasonably low temperatures in the summer and the May 1 tax hike on happoshu
, according to the four companies' reports released by Friday.
Shipments of happoshu
, which is cheaper than beer due to lower liquor taxes, have risen steadily since the beverage's introduction and now account for 30% of the domestic market for beer and happoshu
Brewers have said they will have to raise happoshu
prices as a result.