Kirin Out-Chugs Competition on Taste Tax

After years as Japan's No. 2, the brewer is set to take the top spot thanks to sales of a near-beer not subject to the country's tax on malt

When Japanese soccer fans settle down in front of the TV to watch this year's soccer World Cup in Germany, there's a good chance they'll do so while enjoying a Kirin (KNBWY) beer. After six years as No. 2, Kirin this year looks set to become Japan's biggest brewer, outselling archrival Asahi Breweries during the first three months of 2006. And as sponsor of Japan's national soccer team, Kirin reckons the World Cup will help increase beer sales by 5% this year.

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