The low and non-alcoholic drinks market in Japan and some other Asian countries is booming and the region’s drink manufacturers aim to grow that side of their business significantly.

This is in response to a long-term trend towards healthier living among younger consumers, but also reflects societal change brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, such as restrictions on physical gatherings in bars and an increase in home-based and virtual socialising.

Takeaways from a Nikkei Asia report

  • Demand for traditional beer by restaurants and bars is expected to return to just 80% of its pre-pandemic level even in fiscal year 2022, according to Satoshi Fujiwara, an analyst at Nomura Securities.
  • Euromonitor International reports that almost two-thirds (63%) of millennials are trying to reduce or quit their alcohol consumption. The research firm also forecasts that demand for non-alcoholic and low-alcohol beer will increase by 18.9% in Japan to 395.5m litres in 2024 compared with 2014.
  • Japanese drinks giant Asahi Group Holdings plans for non-alcoholic and low alcoholic drink sales to account for 20% of its portfolio by 2025, or more than three times that of 2019.
  • Rival Kirin Brewery saw sales of non-alcoholic drinks grow by 10.4% in 2020 and aims to increase that further to about 23% this year. The company also plans to double its sales of low-alcohol wine, while developing a non-alcoholic wine brand.
  • The trend is also evident in South Korea where the non-alcoholic beer market is expected to double by 2024, according to Euromonitor, which adds that the market in Vietnam is expected to maintain double-digit growth until 2025.

Key quote

“[The number of] consumers who want to drink non-alcoholic [beverages] is increasing. There was an atmosphere in Japan where people had to drink alcohol at parties due to peer pressure. But, when it comes to online drinking parties, consumers start to drink what they really want” – Akiyoshi Koji, CEO of Asahi Group.

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Sourced from Nikkei Asia