Suntory Beer targets growth even as Japan brew sales slump


Japanese brewer Suntory Beer has set a one per cent growth target this year, even as beer sales across the nation decline.

The Tokyo-based brewer joins Kirin and Sapporo in forecasting better sales for the next 12 months as they seek to buck a more-than decade-long slide in beer sales.

Suntory’s latest overview for the year sees it putting most emphasis on its Kin-Mugi Rich Malt, Premium Malt’s and alcohol-free All-Free brands. It plans to sell 64 million cases (545m litres) in total.

The company will seek to “revitalise the overall beer market” including a programme of creating “fans of Suntory” by promoting the purity of the mineral water that goes into its brews. It will promote Kin-Mugi’s unique ‘umami’, or savoury notes, and for the Premium Malt’s, Suntory will focus on the quality of its foam.

Last year, the brewer began selling an updated version of a battery-powered consumer device that uses ultrasonics to stimulate dense suds from its canned Premium Malt’s. The device is translated from Japanese as the “God bubble electric server”.

According to local news agency Jiji Press, beer sales in Japan are expected to have declined for a fifteenth year in 2019. Suntory said it forecasts a 4 per cent year-on-year drop in 2020.