Japan moves towards low- and non-alcoholic drinks amidst massive demand

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It is a popular conception that alcoholic drinks are extremely popular among the youth in any country, but Japan seems to be slowly changing the trend. In the past few years, the popularity of low and non-alcoholic drinks has surged massively in the country with the percentage of Japanese people in the age group of 21-30 years who drink has gone down to 7.8% from 20.3% back in 1999.

With the market slowly moving towards non-alcoholic drinks, the major alcohol producers in Japan are also looking to diversify their products. One of the first major attractions was the introduction of an alcohol-free “beer garden” that was launched for enthusiasts in one of Tokyo’s tallest buildings.

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While the concept of beer gardens is not new to Japan, the organisers in the event in Roppongi decided to replace the beer with non-alcoholic frizzy drinks and a variety of mocktails.

“Consumers are not enjoying just alcoholic beverages. We think they value more of the communication that’s generated when drinking or would like to enjoy the atmosphere of the place where they drink,” said Suntory general manager Masako Koura in an interaction with Reuters.

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The Sumadori Bar in Shibuya also has created a new line of non-alcoholic drinks or drinks with less than 3 per cent of alcohol. Mizuho Kajiura, chief executive of the venture, has said that this is the way forward for the industry and said that they already have a similar business in Indonesia.

“The aim of this bar is to value customers who cannot drink so that they can happily come here with people who do drink. If other restaurants and bars can understand our aim, I think they would get more customers.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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