Japanese hate the beer gut from warm, bitter beer

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As a follow-up from Sunday’s look at celebs pimping beer, I now present the rest of the survey into beer and beer-like drinks.

Note, happoshu is (as far as I am aware…) separately-produced alcohol mixed with beer flavours and fizz to get some sort of mock beer that tastes as bad as it sounds; the reason it sells is that it is lower tax and goes for about half the price. Third sector or new genre beer is brewed like beer, but instead of malts (which attracts a high tax), alternatives like potatos, peas, old socks, etc is used, and other magic goes in to remove sugars, purine (the stuff that gives you gout) and other nasties. Low sugar is good for avoiding morning mouth and it often tastes quite passable, and of course is pocket-friendly.

Here’s a bunch of random beer adverts, many in classic style:

Beer posters
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Celebrities that drive you to drink

This is in a good way (well, assuming you accept that celebrities should be promoting beer), which celebrities in beer adverts give people a thirst.

I couldn’t find a nice ranking from goo this week, so instead I’ve borrowed a result from an @nifty survey into beer that I will probably fully translate the remainder of this week.

Japan gets them started young; on the left is “Beer for good children”, on the right is “Children’s drink”.

Beers for Children
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90% of Japanese like beer

How do you find beer? graph of japanese statisticsKyodo Press Agency recently conducted a survey about, and simply titled, beer.

Demographics

Between the 16th and 18th of January 2016 1,000 people from all over Japan aged between 20 and 69 years old completed an internet-based questionnaire. There was no information about how the sample was gathered, or even if non-beer drinkers were filtered out or not, but it does seem odd that in Q1 there is no “Don’t drink alcohol” option. It might be safe to assume that only beer drinkers were surveyed, though.

Happoshu is a (not very) beer-like substance, made, I suspect, by basically adding alcohol to fizzy hop tea. Third-sector beer is brewed from non-traditional ingredients like beans. Both non-beer types recently tend towards “healthy” labels of zero or low purine, sugars, preservatives, etc. Personally, I find the no or low-sugar non-beers quite good for weeknight drinking, as they leave less of a heavy stomach behind the next morning, and some are even quite passable, and certainly beat beer in the cost-performance stakes, as due to tax anomalies they are half the price of real beer.
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When one beer is not enough

The title of this article begs the question “Is there times when one beer is enough”, but for now please make do with goo Ranking’s look at moments when people feel one beer is just not enough.

Demographics

Between the 2nd and 5th of May 2013 1,088 members of the goo Research online monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 50.2% of the sample were male, 23.3% in their teens, 24.4% in their twenties, 25.5% in their thirties, and 26.8% in their forties; there was no-one older than 49 in this sample. Note that the score in the results refers to the relative number of votes for each option, not a percentage of the total sample.

I suppose for foreigners new to Japan, finding this nearby would be a moment when one was not enough?

Beer

I can most certainly identify with number 12, be it the free beer on an airplane or a few cans from the convenience store before getting on the train!
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WiMAX and the beer case sliding kitty

Have you seen the cat/beer/sliding television advertisement? graph of japanese statisticsWith the trial of UQ WiMAX, high-speed wireless offering a maximum speed of 40Mbps, having started in February and the paid-for service planned to launch in July, this survey from goo Research looked at data transmission, concentrating in this report on WiMAX.

Demographics

Between the 10th and 14th of March 2010 1,066 members of the goo Research monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 53.0% of the sample were male, 16.2% in their teens, 18.2% in their twenties, 21.0% in their thirties, 16.3% in their forties, 15.8% in their fifties, and 12.5% aged sixty or older.

The rather strange title of this survey comes from an advert for UQ WiMAX that features a YouTube kitty which… well, just watch:

Yes, that’s it in its entirity. I’d never heard of the advert, but after I first read the survey I happened to be in an electrical store with a WiMAX-equipped notebook computer looping the above advertisement.
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Non-alcohol beer flavour drinks

Do you like the taste of beer? graph of japanese statisticsLast year Kirin started with Kirin Zero, a completely alcohol-free drink that supposedly tastes like beer, and they were soon followed by all the other major brewers. To see how people drink them, iShare conducted a survey into these beer taste soft drinks.

Demographics

Between the 15th and 18th of February 2010 509 members of the CLUB BBQ free email forwarding service completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 53.6% of the sample were male, 31.8% in their twenties, 30.8% in their thirties, and 37.3% in their forties.

I’ve drunk one can once – well, I drunk half a can and poured the rest away. It did look quite beer-like in colour and head, but the taste was just like what I imagine fizzy hops tea would be.

It gets promoted at a couple of the restaurants that I frequent, but it always seems to be priced just the same as real beer, and much higher than ordinary fizzy drinks. I’d stick with ginger beer if I was in the situation of needing to drive after a drinking party!
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Cheap beer-like drinks most often consumed alone at home

What do you usually drink? graph of japanese statisticsFirst there was happoshu, a most foul fizzy alcohol drink, then there was third sector beer brewed from non-traditional ingredients like corn, peas, and old socks. Now there is new genre fourth sector beers, which seem to be going back to being based on the traditional barley, but with lower sugar, carbohydrates, purine, and taste content. This new genre of brews were the subject of a survey from MyVoice.

Demographics

Over the first five days of August 2009 13,517 members of the MyVoice internet community completed a private online questionnaire. 54% of the sample were female, 15% were in their twenties, 34% in their thirties, 30% in their forties, and 21% aged fifty or older.

I recently had some Style Free, I think it was, a zero carbohydrates drink with just 35 or so calories a can, which was surprisingly pleasant, and without the heavy sugary aftertaste of many other canned beers. It seems to be a happoshu rather than a new genre beer, but let’s ignore that and continue with my description. The morning after was better as well, without an overnight festering of sugars in my mouth. I recommend you give them a try – they are cheap and with dozens of different brands, there’s lots of scope for finding one that suits your palate.

Oh, and a quick shout-out to Gaijin Tonic, where you might or might not find reviews of some of the fine products listed below.
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Advertising beer in Japan

Do you want a beer after seeing its advert? graph of japanese statisticsPerhaps it’s partially because the rules on advertising beer in the UK and the US, etc are very strict about not promoting enjoying beer, but humour is often key theme in their advertisements. Without such shackles in Japan, television spots for beer focus on noisy gulping down of said alcoholic beverages. This subject, beer and advertisements, was the topic for a recent survey from MyVoice.

Demographics

Over the first five days of September 2008 15,367 members of the MyVoice internet community successfully completed a private online questionnaire. 54% of the sample were female, 15% in their twenties, 37% in their thirties, 29% in their forties, and 19% in their fifties.

Just to give you an idea on how these beers get advertised, in Q2 I’ve embedded YouTube videos for each of the brands. Yes, that’s a very young Helena Bonham-Carter selling Suntory Malts! As a bonus, here’s an extra advert that I can’t embed
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Healthy beer in Japan

How often do you drink healthy beers? graph of japanese statisticsHealthy beer is a phrase one doesn’t hear too often, but that’s basically the title of a recent survey conducted by MyVoice into health-related beer-like drinks.

Demographics

Over the first five days of March 2008 14,373 members of the MyVoice internet community successfully completed an internet-based questionnaire. 54% of the sample was female, 15% in their twenties, 39% in their thirties, 30% in their forties, and 16% in their fifties. Note that since the legal drinking age is twenty, teenagers were excluded from this survey.

I got a free can of Kirin ZERO for going to see a cross-dressing dancing General Douglas MacArthur (don’t ask!) but my wife gave it away to the father-in-law before I got a chance to sample it. I tried Tanrei Green Label and it was just as much swill as the full-sugar Tanrei!

In Q7, being good for health is an interesting answer. I suspect it is not just a poor wording (“can control calorie intake” might have been better), but I’ve seen people on television interpret “not so bad for you” as “can consume as much as I like.” One strong memory is of an actor knocking back two or more bottles of red wine a night and being shocked when the doctor told him that that was a bad thing.
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Impending beer price hike in Japan

If the price of beer goes up, how will your drinking habits change? graph of japanese statisticsWith Kirin having previously announced a price rise in beer next February, and with Asahi today also making a similar announcement, it is timely to look at this survey conducted by goo Research in conjunction with the Yomiuri Shimbun into the rise in the price of beer.

Demographics

Little demographic information was given for this survey, bar that 1,092 people over the age of 20 were interviewed at the start of November 2007. Not even the sample sizes for the questions were listed!

It may be interesting to compare the results of this survey with a recent one on the rise in instant ramen prices.

One thing I’ve never understood is that comparable beers from all the three big brewers are the same price, and they are sold at almost the same price everywhere from the largest megastore to the smallest vending machine. Surely they cannot be running a cartel?

Note that currently a 350 millilitre can of beer retails for about 207 yen from a convenience store.
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