Asahi Group Holdings announced last week that “after consideration of medium- to long-term market trends, the decision was made to end operations at Asahi Breweries’ Kanagawa Brewery and Shikoku Brewery at the end of January 2023. In addition the company plans to shut down Asahi Breweries Nishinomiya-higashi Distribution Center and Nikka Whisky Nishinomiya Plant by the end of 2024 and Hakata Brewery at the end of 2025 with operations to be transferred to a new facility located nearby. Preparations for the launch of operations at the Shin-Kyushu Brewery (tentative name) will begin in 2026.
The closures are part of a restructuring plan based on the company’s new medium- to long-term management policy “to build an optimal production and distribution system in Japan and further enhance the company’s sustainability strategy.”
The restructuring is aimed at increasing capacity utilization levels at Asahi’s breweries in Japan by optimizing production capacity at each facility. The plan also involves further boosting cost-competitiveness and efficiency group-wide by increasing the number of hybrid breweries able to produce a wide range of products including alcohol and nonalcohol beverages.
Asahi will use a new brewery with sustainable production facilities as a model for other facilities to dramatically enhance their energy efficiency, and will also introduce CO2 capture technologies on the way to making all facilities carbon negative (with CO2 absorption volumes exceeding CO2 emissions) as soon as possible. The company will reinvest the resources freed up through this restructuring into making all Asahi Group production bases in Japan carbon negative as part of the Company’s efforts to help create a more sustainable world and earn the trust of stakeholders into the future.
The 137 employees of Kanagawa Brewery and Shikoku Brewery will be given the opportunity to transfer to other Asahi Group’s bases or provided with the company’s reemployment support and other such services. Asahi is currently considering how to utilize the brewery sites after operations cease. Impairment losses on the abovementioned breweries’ fixed assets etc. are expected to lead to the recording of “other operating expenses” of approximately 14.5 billion JPY (USD 126 million) in the 2 companies’ financial results for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2022. The details are, however, yet to be determined.
The Hakata Brewery’s 122 employees will be given the opportunity to transfer to the new ShinKyushu Brewery and other group operations. The Company is currently considering how to utilize the Hakata Brewery site after operations cease. The Shin-Kyushu Brewery will be utilized as a model facility for the Asahi Group’s next-generation production system.
New production methods and other innovations will be used to reduce energy consumption by 50% from current levels, and production facilities will shift to using renewable energy. In addition, by introducing CO2 capture technologies, Asahi aims to make the brewery carbon negative as soon as possible.
In addition, by producing a wide range of products, from beer and non-alcohol beer-taste beverages to ready-to-drink beverages and products of Asahi Soft Drinks as well as the containers for these products, the group aims to streamline distribution and increase brewery capacity utilization.
The impact of the end of operations in Hakata Brewery and the transfer of operations to the Shin-Kyushu Brewery on the company’s consolidated results in the fiscal year ending December 31, 2022 will be minimal.
The Asahi Breweries Nishinomiya-higashi Distribution Center is scheduled to end operations at around the end of 2024. The Nikka Whisky’s Nishinomiya Plant, which is located on the same site, is scheduled to cease operations around March 2024. Production of the kegged Taruhai Club and Taruzume Highball on-premise market products will be transferred to Asahi Breweries’ Suita Brewery.
Employees at the Asahi Breweries’ Nishinomiya-higashi Distribution Center and Nikka Whisky Nishinomiya Plant will be given the opportunity to transfer to other Group operations. Asahi is currently considering how to utilize the distribution center/plant site after operations cease. The impact of the End of Operations in the distribution center and plant on the Company’s consolidated results in the fiscal year ending December 31, 2022 will be minimal.