You Call This Beer? Coming to America: Kirin Beer With Nada Alcohol

on 24/01/11 at 10:58 am


Long used to falling beer sales in a shrinking and aging population, Japan’s drinks makers have become pretty creative in trying to find new ways to make money.

Whether it’s premixed spirits and fruit juices in a can or low-taxed alcoholic brews not made from hops, Kirin Brewery and peers like Asahi Breweries and Suntory Holdings have shown laudable invention in their domestic market.

Now, Kirin is taking things just about as far as they can go: It’s about to try selling an alcohol-free beer in one of the havens of traditional suds lovers – the West Coast of the U.S.

This isn’t your average low-alcohol concoction. Kirin describes the brew, Kirin Free, as the first “0.00%-alcohol beer” in the world (while drinks labeled “nonalcoholic” may be found in stores in the U.S., these can include up to 0.5% alcohol by volume, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives).

Kirin plans to test-market the 334ml bottle at 1,000 restaurants in cities on the West Coast of the U.S. beginning March. Japan’s No. 2 brewer by number of cases shipped last year, actually began sales of Kirin Free in Japan in April 2009, selling 5.2 million cases of it here in 2010.

{Full story via WSJ}

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