Low-malt beerBeverages classified as ‘beer’, according to Japanese liquor tax regulations, contain 50 percent or more malt, with other permitted ingredients being rice, corn, starch, and potato. Due to tax hikes on beer products, breweries in Japan introduced happoshu to the market. This is a beverage with a malt content of less than 50 percent with additives such as fruits or herbs.
However, the success of low-malt beer was short-lived, as the liquor tax system was reformed to close the loophole. With the gradual reclassification of happoshu as ‘beer’ in recent years, domestic shipments have been showing a decade-long decline.