Asahi Breweries (Japan)

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Asahi Breweries overtook Kirin in 2001 to recapture the title of Japan's leading brewer for the first time in almost 50 years. It has more or less maintained that lead since then, although the two companies remain fiercely competitive, especially in the increasingly dominant happoshu "beer-alike" sector. The company's flagship brand is Asahi Super Dry, #1 beer in Japan by a considerable margin and one of the world's biggest by volume. The launch of that brand in 1985 saved Asahi from near-collapse, and its growth over the next two decades was dramatic. Yet the domestic beer market has changed beyond recognition as a result of the introduction in the 1990s of low-priced beverages which resemble beer but contain low or no malt. These happoshu and so-called "new genre" drinks now outsell traditional beers. As a result, Asahi began restructuring in 2002 to develop a broader portfolio that includes wines, spirits and flavoured alcoholic beverages. It has also expanded its international footprint, building a strong presence in China and Australia, and more recently Europe, through acquisition.

Selected Asahi Breweries advertising

Who are the competitors of Asahi Breweries? See Wine Beer & Spirits Sector for other companies

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Asahi Breweries website

Brands

Asahi Super Dry Nikka Whisky Distilling
Asahi Honnama Lowenbrau
Asahi Soft Drinks Schweppes Australia

Worldwide

Asahi Beer USA Asahi Beer UK

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Dec 2016: Asahi Breweries of Japan is doubling down on Europe, having agreed a new deal to acquire SABMiller's remaining brands in the region for E7.3bn. It has already acquired SABMiller's Grolsch and Peroni; the new acquisition covers a collection of Central & Eastern European beers including Urquell from the Czech Republic, Hungary's Dreher and Poland's Tyskie and Lech. SABMiller's new owner AB InBev had agreed to sell the brands to appease regulatory concerns. However, the price tag paid by Asahi is significantly higher than anticipated because of stiff competition from rival private equity bidders. Following completion, the Japanese company will become Europe's third largest brewer after AB InBev and Heineken.

Adbrands Weekly Update 9th Jun 2016: Asahi Breweries is considering a further incursion into Europe. It is already preparing to take its first steps into the region with the agreed £2m acquisition of SABMiller's Peroni and Grolsch beers. According to media reports, it is also considering a £5bn bid for the Anglo-South African group's significantly larger operations in Central & Eastern Europe, including Pilsner Urquell and Dreher. Both sales are required by European regulators as a condition of SABMiller's acquisition by AB InBev.

Adbrands Weekly Update 21st April 2016: Anheuser-Busch InBev accepted an offer of around $2.9bn from Asahi Breweries of Japan for SABMiller's European portfolio comprising Peroni, Grolsch and selected other assets in Italy, the Netherlands and the UK. The deal will give Japan's leading brewer its first significant foothold in Europe. The two groups have been in exclusive negotiations since February. The deal is conditional on completion of AB InBev's takeover of SABMiller, but this was one of the last remaining regulatory obstacles to that merger. AB InBev has already agreed to sell SABMiller's stakes in Snow beer of Japan and MillerCoors USA to avoid competition issues.

Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Jan 2016: The rumour mill is abuzz regarding potential buyers for Grolsch and Peroni, the premium European beers put up for sale by AB InBev in advance of its acquisition of their owner SABMiller. Japanese media reported that local giant Asahi Breweries is preparing a bid for the brands at a value of around $3.4bn. Asahi has virtually no footprint in Western beer markets, despite the dominance of its Asahi Super Dry beer at home. San Miguel of the Philippines has also expressed interest. However, another media report said that the vendors would prefer a private equity buyer, who might also allow AB InBev an option to buy the beers back again at a later date.

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