Japan: Asahi debuts innovative draft beer in cans in three weeks

Asahi Breweries will debut in Japan a draft beer sold in cans on April 6. The draft beer version of its Asahi Super Dry line will feature three innovations replicating the draft beer experience straight from the can.

The new Asahi Super Dry Nama Jokki Can stands for two innovations as it has a special interior coating that results in tinier bubbles and a pop-off top. Coupled together, the new developments replicate the smooth head of draft beer and a special drinking experience when the beer is drunk straight from the can.

Nama” is a Japanese word for “fresh” or “raw” and it describes for beer the special property of freshness of draft beer in comparison to canned or bottled beer. This is accomplished partly by a special coating with caldera-shaped protrusions inside the can which causes the beer to generate tinier bubbles (approx. 0.1 mm in contrast to the normal 0.5 mm) , resulting in a smoother head. Since the coating is baked on the aluminum there is no risk of coating dissolving.

Jokki” is the Japanese term for a beer mug or pint glass. This refers to the new can design, which lets drinkers tear off the entire top of the can to drink the beer, making it more similar to drinking a regular draft in a pub. In order not to cut up your mouth while drinking the beer straight from the can the wide-mouth lid has safe edges which is a unique Japanese technology that has been used so far only for cans of high-priced food products but not for beverage cans.

Thirdly, carbonation pressure of the new can is higher than with normal canned beer and at the same level as draft beer. Asahi hopes that this also helps to enhance the draft beer experience.

With this product innovation Asahi tries to recapture some of the lost sales of draft beer during the COVID 19 pandemic. In 2020 sales of Asahi Super Dry for bars and eateries fell by 40 percent year on year mainly due to closures during the pandemic. In the same time Asahi experienced a 2 percent rise in sales of canned beer to households which could not totally make up for the loss.

From April 6, the new draft beer will start selling at convenience stores nationwide at a price of JPY 219 (USD 2.01), including tax for a 340 ml can. From April 20, the product will also be available at other retail shops.

For the same reason, namely to gain draft beer drinkers for home consumption, Asahi’s local rival Kirin announced last week to expand in May its home-delivery beer subscription service named Home Tap nationwide. Twice a month, subscribers of the service will receive one-liter plastic bottles of draft beer that can be tapped by using a beer dispenser. Asahi will also launch a similar subscription service with a dispenser and two-liter bottles for Asahi Super Dry. (inside.beer, 8.3.2021)

“Last year, we worked to enhance the value of core brands in each business and offer new value propositions based on the Asahi Group Philosophy and our Medium-Term Management Policy. Nevertheless, the worldwide slump in the food service industry and other impacts from the pandemic led to an adverse business environment the likes of which we have never before experienced,” Akiyoshi Koji, Asahi’s current CEO, president and representative director said in a message in January.

“Although the negative impacts of the pandemic look set to continue this year, we will work to further bolster the resilience of each of our businesses by responding rapidly to structural changes in society with an eye to the new normal,” Mr. Koji added.

One of those initiatives to hand over to his successor Atsushi Katsuki as the new group’s CEO a well-ordered house after this year’s annual general meeting of shareholders on March 25 (inside.beer, 27.2.2021) has resulted now in the creation of the new Asahi Super Dry Nama Jokki Can.

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