Yebisu is Japan’s top premium beer


I don’t know if it’s seasonal or just that I’ve been prompted to recall them by translating this survey, but there does seem to have been rather a number of advertisements for premium beer on the television and in print these days. The survey that prompted this recall was on my MyVoice into premium beer.


Over the first five days of October 2007 16,882 members of the MyVoice internet community completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 54% of the sample was female, 17% in their twenties, 40% in their thirties, 27% in their forties, and 16% in their fifties. Note that since the legal drinking age is 20, no teenagers took part in this survey.

The exact definition of “premium beer” is not discussed, but it is presumably based on price differentiation. Q3 lists the main beers that are considered to be premium. For me, Yebisu is the only one in the list I’d choose; Guinness, a brew I like back in the UK, is brewed under licence here and has a very unpleasant bitter, tarry aftertaste.
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Mmmmm, foreign beer

Back in May goo Ranking published the results of one of their quick web polls into people’s favourite foreign beer. As usual for goo Ranking, no demographic information is available, and the score for each beer is the percentage of the votes it received compared to the number one choice.

Sadly, but not really unexpected, Budweiser (not the real Budvar, sadly) scooped number one slot. However, many of the beers voted for are, I would guess, local beers brewed under licence. I’ve had “Indian” Kingfisher lager that was imported to Japan from the UK, and in Los Angeles I once had Asahi Super Dry with “IMPORTED” boldly stamped on the label, only to find the small print indicating it had come from Canada.
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Over 19 million Japanese abuse alcohol?

How often do you drink beer, happoshu or third-sector beer? graph of japanese opinioninfoPLANT recently released a survey, performed using their usual method of a menu option within the DoCoMo iMode service, to find out what people thought about beer, happoshu and third-sector beer. Note that this survey was self-selecting, but since it has nothing to do with mobile phones, there should not be too major a problem with the survey population this time. 7,668 people, 61.0% female, responded to the survey, conducted over one week at the end of February.

Beer almost always means lager in Japan, happoshu is a low-malt beer-like drink(can’t stand the stuff myself), and third-sector beer is wheat and malt free, and instead is made from pea and other vegetable proteins and the one time I drunk it it tasted suprisingly nice and smooth.

I think I have found one statistic I’ve been seeking for a long time – here we have 13.8% of men in their twenties reporting daily beer consumption. Looking at a table from my homeland of Scotland, we can see that in 1998 only 7% of males aged 25 to 34 drunk any alcohol daily. However, looking at those men who drink at least once a week, the Scots have a significantly higher figure, although remember that includes all alcohol types. Similarly, but even more markedly, a mere 3% of young Scotswomen drink any alcohol daily, whereas over three times as many, 10.1% of Japanese women in their twenties consume beer daily. These differences are repeated across all the age groups.

Contrasting the daily figures with the weekly ones, I think it is a fair conclusion to draw that whilst the Japanese may overall have a lower frequency of alcohol consumption than the Scots, there are a higher number of regular drinkers amongst the Japanese population.

Note that neither survey addresses the volume of consumption, but with the recommended maximum weekly intake of 21 units for men and 14 for women, two large half-litre cans for men or two small 330 ml cans for women of beer-like drinks will most likely put the daily drinkers over the safe limit, and that ignores any other alcohol the Japanese may be consuming. Taking the adult population of Japan to be about 103 million and taking 18.6% of that figure we get the tabloid headline figure above, which does make certain assumptions, of course, some that might make the figure lower and others that make it higher.
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