According to Kristin Chiu, manager of public relations at Asahi Group Holdings, beer consumption in Japan has declined consistently over the past 15 years, and set to drop further.
Beer sales have dropped due to the country’s shrinking population and the growing popularity of cheaper chūhai spirits-based products.
“Since the beer market in Japan keeps shrinking, we try to change our mindset of selling and promoting our products,” Chiu told FoodNavigator-Asia.
In doing so, Asahi Breweries will stop disclosing total sales volume of all beer it produces from January 2020 onwards, instead choosing to only release total sales values.
“We have been using sales volume as the KPI of our company for many decades. However now we would like to focus more on enhancing brand value and profitability,” Chiu said.
However, the company will continue to disclose the sales volume of three main brands, which are Asahi Super Dry, Asahi Style Free, and Clear Asahi.
Chiu told us, Asahi Breweries sold 141,960,000 beer cases (1 case = 12.66L) in 2019, which was a 96.5% year-on-year growth.
Asahi’s best-selling beer is its flagship beer, Asahi Super Dry, which sold 86,440,000 cases in 2019, according to Chiu.
Race for profit
Asahi said it wants to focus on boosting its profit and moving out of the race for market share.
According to a Barth report, Asahi is the biggest beer company in Japan, followed by Kirin, Suntory and Sapporo.
Asahi’s withdrawal from the race will make it difficult to compare data among the major breweries in terms of market share.
The other breweries have not announced plans to stop disclosing sales volume.
Despite lower beer consumption and sales, Chiu told us the fact that Asahi is a gold partner for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics Games will hopefully positively impact sales of its flagship beer.
“We hope attendees coming around the world would have a chance to try our products and have a memorable experience in Japan. Since Asahi Super Dry are sold over 50 countries, we hope the attendees could link the great memory in Japan to their home town when they see Asahi Super Dry again.”
This year, the company will choose to focus on Asahi Super Dry, with a series of campaigns launched to deliver different experience to consumers.
It will also be releasing a limited-edition cherry blossom packaging for Asahi Dry Zero in February 2020 to symbolise Spring in Japan.