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The Most Popular Beer in Japan

The Japanese love their beer, the top five breweries in Japan shipped 216.72 million cases of beer, about 7.8 billion 350ml (12 oz) beers, in the first half of 2008. The top four brands, Asahi, Kirin, Suntory & Sapporo hold a combined 99.3% of market share based on the volume shipped.

Asahi Breweries tower over the other brewers with a 37.5% market share. Asahi Super Dry is the beer of choice in my home so it must be good! The Asahi Breweries Headquarters Building, one of the more unusual landmarks on the Tokyo skyline, is well worth seeing and the adjacent Asahi Super Dry Hall is home to a number of bars and restaurants where you can taste this great beer for yourself.

Read about the other great beers on the list after the jump…

The Kirin Brewery celebrated 100 years of brewing in 2007 and comes in 2nd with a 36.7% market share. Kirin Lager, Kirin Ichiban Shibori & Kirin The Gold are its three primary beer offerings in Japan.

Established in 1899, Suntory comes in third with a 13% market share, surpassing Sapporo for the first time since entering the market in 1963. Commonly know as Malt, the beer was re-banded in 2006 and is now known as Natural Water (Draft) Beer Malt’s.

Sapporo Breweries rounds out the top five with a 12.1% market share. If you are in Tokyo you can visit the Beer Museum Yebisu to explore the interesting history of this company and it’s products.

KennyG from The Vancouver Traveler wondered about the cost of beer when I asked “What do YOU want to know about Tokyo?” and I’m sure that others are thirsty and wondering the same thing after reading this article. A six pack of beer costs about US$12 at the grocery store and individual beer can be purchase at convenience stores and at vending machines conveniently located throughout the city. Alternatively, you can expect to pay about US$5 for a draft beer in a restaurant.

On your next trip to Japan why don’t you try all four of these brands to see of you agree with Japanese beer preferences?

Source: Daily Yomiuri Online, Suntory 3rd in beer sales for 1st time
Photo Credit: Flick, Asahi, A nice cold beer & beer!