Brands under the Kirin umbrella include, besides others, the flagship beer brands Kirin Ichiban Shibori and Kirin Lager, 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.
The Japanese beverage industry can be divided 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 (RTD) coffee and tea, sports beverages and value-added water.
Large beverage manufacturers such as Kirin Holdings Company, Sapporo Holdings Limited, Suntory Holdings Limited or Asahi Group Holdings Limited dominate the domestic beverage market, providing a variety of soft drinks as well as high and low alcohol content specialties in the country, 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 is domestically produced beer. In 2016, the domestic beer production amounted to approximately 2.75 billion liters in total, contributing to Sapporo’s success.
However, craft beer is continuously gaining popularity in Japan, providing consumers with a large variety of new flavor profiles.