Yesterday Japan’s top 2 beer brewery companies Asahi and Kirin (KNBWY) announced their 2005 sales figures and discussed their strategy in ’06 as they battle for market share. Kirin had been Japan’s undisputed leading brewery for years until Asahi overtook it in 2001. Since then the two have been engaged in a battle over market share in which Kirin almost overtook Asahi last September coming up short by a difference of only 0.1%.
Asahi’s sales fell in 2005 by 5.2% compared to 2004. Kirin’s increased 0.3% during the same period. Both firms entered a new market for beer sales in April of last year, selling what’s known as “third-category beer,