Sapporo launches hard seltzer and beer-like drinks to boost home consumption activities

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These latter products fall under Sapporo’s core business – alcoholic beverages. Other pillars include food and non-alcoholic beverages as well as real estate.

Revenue from alcoholic beverages increased 0.2% in the second quarter of 2021 to reach JPY 130.5 billion (US $ 1.2 billion). The increase is primarily driven by sales of ready-to-drink (RTD) products driven by growth in home consumption and its overseas business, cushioning the decline in beer and foodservice business due to COVID -19.

It is noted that RTD’s sales volume grew 48% year-on-year.

Sapporo hopes to strengthen its products for home consumption with the launch of its seltzer water products under the Water Sour brand and a beer-like drink called The Drafty.

Craze for hard seltzer

Hard seltzer first became popular in the United States in 2013, and since then the popularity has grown around the world, driven by growing demand from health-conscious consumers for their relatively low calorie and alcohol content. weaker.

They usually include an alcohol mixed with carbonated water and a fruit flavor, whether fruit juice or artificial flavors.

The category is relatively new to Japan and does not have an official definition. In the United States, hard seltzer is a general term for flavored carbonated water containing alcohol derived from sugarcane molasses.

Hard soda is similar to Japanese Chuhai, a spirits drink that contains soda and juice. Although Chuhai are generally higher in alcohol, up to 12% blood alcohol content, they generally use a base of shochu or vodka and are high in sugar.

Inspired by this trend, Sapporo has developed two ready-to-drink hard carbonated drinks marketed under the Sapporo Water Sour brand.

It is a low alcohol (3% alcohol content) vodka drink that is unsweetened and has a slightly bittersweet yet refreshing mouth feel. It comes in two variations, containing lemon juice and orange juice, which are said to be the favorite flavors of Japanese consumers.

According to Yasuhiro Nagumo of the public relations department at Sapporo Breweries, seltzers are aimed at consumers in their 20s and 30s.

Recently, young people are more and more aware of their drinking time and the amount of alcohol they consume due to their growing awareness of their health. We have developed a product low in alcohol and sugar free for young people.

According to Nagumo, the hard seltzer water market in Japan is still small, “but we believe this is a category that should expand in the future. “

Sapporo hard seltzers are available in supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide, there is no export plan at this time.

Beer type drink

The company also recently launched a low alcohol (0.7% ABV) beer-like drink as an alternative for beer lovers.

Under the Sapporo The Drafty brand, Nagumo said it uses 100% malt draft beer to create a low-alcohol beer while having a beer aroma and wheat flavor.

With the growing health awareness and the feeling of not wanting to get too drunk, this is a product where beer lovers can enjoy beer without hesitation and will be satisfied.

Asahi also launched its version of a beer-like drink (Beery) containing 0.5% alcohol in alcohol, as well as Kirin with its Kirin Greens Free (0.00%), which recently exported to the China.

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