KIRIN to CLOSE TWO BREWERIES
Japanese beer-producer Kirin will shutter two of its domestic breweries next year, putting more than 3OO jobs on the line. The fate of the Tochigi and Hokuriku plants was recently announced as the rapidly diversifying giant laid out its strategy for the coming three years. Both facilities will be closed by the end of the 2O1O peak period. “In seeking to create a more productive, highly localized sales structure, we will undertake a comprehensive review of the sales systems at Kirin Brewery and Kirin Merchandising, including consideration of creating a separate company to handle all sales functions,” the firm said in a statement. Kirin is currently in talks with rival Suntory over the merging of the two businesses, a deal that would produce one of the world’s largest FMCG companies and Japan’s biggest brewer, with almost triple the turnover of current Japanese market-leader Asahi. Kirin has been following an increasingly international strategy in recent years as Japan’s aging population and the tastes of younger drinkers have driven down demand for beer. Shipments by Japanese brewers over the first nine months of the year fell to an all-time low of 345 million cases.