Brands under the Kirin umbrellaBrands under the Kirin umbrella include, besides others, the flagship beer brands Kirin Ichiban Shibori and Kirin Lager, the popular low-malt beer (happoshu) brand Tanrei, the craft beer brands Yo-Ho Brewing and Brooklyn Brewery, the wine brand Chateau Mercian, the leading black tea brand Gogo-no-Kocha and the coffee drink Kirin Fire.
Furthermore, the holding company entered into a joint venture with Diageo plc in 2009 to expand the distribution of beverage brands managed by the British alcoholic drinks manufacturer. Consequently, Kirin extended its brand portfolio to include the vodka brand Smirnoff, the rum brand Captain Morgan, and the gin brand Gordon, among others.
Outline of the Japanese beverages marketThe Japanese beverage industry can be broken into two distinct categories: alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages typically include beer, wine, or spirits, such as whiskey, sake, or shochu. The non-alcoholic beverages industry shows a wider variety, encompassing liquid refreshment beverages (LRB) such as bottled water, carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit beverages, ready-to-drink coffee and tea, sports beverages, and value-added water.
Large beverage manufacturers such as Suntory Holdings Limited, Asahi Group Holdings, Kirin Holdings Company, and Sapporo Holdings Limited dominate the domestic beverage market. Those companies provide the country with a variety of soft drinks as well as high-alcohol and low-alcohol content specialties, such as beer and beer-like beverages, RTD mixed alcoholic drinks, wine, shochu, whisky, and other spirits.
While Japan is well known for its production of high-quality sake, shochu, and whisky, the preferred alcoholic drink of the average Japanese consumer is beer. In recent years, the domestic beer production remained steadily above 2.5 billion liters in total, contributing to Kirin’s success. Furthermore, craft beer is continuously gaining popularity in Japan, providing consumers with a large variety of new flavor profiles.