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Microbrewery number in Japan FY 2014-2018

The number of microbreweries in Japan amounted to 303 businesses in fiscal year 2018, representing an increase from less than 200 businesses operating in fiscal 2014. As the Japanese beer market is dominated by the leading enterprises Asahi, Suntory, Sapporo, and Kirin, microbreweries entering the market are typically producing beer-like beverages as a side business.

Small-scale production

After relaxations of requirements to acquire a liquor license in Japan, small-scale breweries started the production of microbrews. Despite the overwhelming popularity of low-cost alternatives on the market, such as low-malt beer (happoshu) and ‘new genre beer’, the domestic production of craft beer showed a steady increase in recent years. As only a small number of microbreweries can afford the export of small quantities of beer-like beverages, the target groups are mainly domestic consumers, who are slowly discovering the variety in flavor profiles of microbrews.

Craft beer in the beer market

Compared to the annual beer production volume of major breweries, which exceeds several billion kiloliters, the beer-like beverages of microbreweries barely make up one percent of the domestic beer market. While beer and beer-like beverages remain the preferred alcoholic drink of consumers, the higher retail prices of craft beverages discourage frequent consumptions.

Number of microbreweries* in Japan from fiscal year 2014 to 2018

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Release date

June 2020



Survey time period

fiscal years 2014 to 2018; the Japanese fiscal year runs from April 1 of each stated year to March 31 of the following year

Supplementary notes

*"Microbreweries" in this case refer to manufacturers of beer and low-malt beer/sparkling liquor (happoshu), who have experience in the manufacturing and distribution of the beverages. Including corporations with a capital of less than 300 million Japanese yen as well as corporations and individuals with less than 300 employees.

The figures are based on the number of microbreweries responding to a survey on craft beer manufacturing in Japan.

Excluding the five major breweries Asahi Breweries, Suntory Beer, Sapporo Breweries, Kirin Brewery, and Orion Breweries.

Figures prior to 2016 come from previous reports.

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Statistics on "Sapporo Breweries"

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