Japan Offers China a Cold One

Having reached a sales ceiling in their own country, Japanese brewers such as Kirin, Suntory, and Asahi are raising a mug to a thirsty mainland market

With beer sales losing fizz at home, Japan's brewers have tried futilely in recent years to reignite sales. Relentless TV advertising hasn't done the trick nor, on the whole, has the introduction of new hybrid drinks, such as cheaper low- or no-malt varieties of beer (see BusinessWeek.com, 4/25/06, "Kirin Out-Chugs the Competition on Taste Tax"). And the sales stall looks likely to continue. Nikko Citigroup reckons total beer sales will dip 2.8% from current levels by 2008.

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