Friday, March 24, 2006

Low-price vs. premium

With many consumer goods in Japan, the market is increasingly split in premium and low-price products, with products or brands from the middle segment having an increasingly hard time. The beer market is an excellent example - with the introduction of the low-malt (and low-cost) beer alternative happoshu Japanese breweries have created a competitor cannibalizing into their main beer brands. After several tax increases on happoshu, manufacturers have reacted by developing even cheaper alternatives with the so-called third beers - which are now eating into their happoshu sales.

Kirin is trying to stop this trend and has released Enjuku, a premium happoshu with a design reminiscent of premium beer brand Ebisu. At the same time, Kirin is adding its own premium beer brands such as a beer containing select hops

Suntory has released World Select Beer, a beer containing select ingredients from all over the world (such as hops from Germany), but with the reassuring label "made in Japan".


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