Recently the Yomiuri News reported the following:
Five beer major companies had announced on the 12th that total shipment of beer in the first half of 2011 (January - June) was 200.32 million cases, when compared to the previous year it was a 3.5% decrease (one case =20 large bottle in conversion), being a new low in a row for the first half of a year in the past 2 years.
The demand in business use had decreased because of the "Self-imposed control mood" after a East Japan great earthquake; while the popularity of the highball and low-alcohol drinks was pushed up.
In terms of market-sharing according to the manufacturers, Asahi Breweries Ltd. that had the "Clear Asahi Breweries, Ltd." etc. producing the popular low-priced "Third category beer" was good, it had 37.8% and was 2 years in a row in the head position. It was followed by the Kirin, the Suntory Limited, the Sapporo, and the Orion.
By individual categories, the beer was 96.04 million cases, corresponding to the previous year it was a 4.8% decrease; for the low-malt beer it was 32.64 million cases being a 12.5% decrease; "The 3rd" was 71.64 million cases, being an increase of 3.2%. As for beers by percentage in total, beer was 47.9% in the first half of the year, being a new low in comparison; as for "The 3rd", it expanded to a new height at 35.8%; consumer's low-priced intention was clear. The possibility that the beer would fall below 50% for the first time in one whole year had increased.
It seems that the beer consumption pattern in Japan is changing.