Okinawan beer export reaches new record

August 19, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

The amount of beer exported from Okinawa in 2015 reached 2,488 kiloliters, which is a 41.5 percent increase on the previous year. The profit from beer sales increased by 38.1 percent, bringing in 380.7 million yen – a record number for the sixth consecutive year. Orion Beer makes up the majority of exports, owing to a growing number of loyal customers among international tourists in Okinawa. In addition, breweries’ active promotion led to an increase in the number of stores carrying products. The establishment of new air routes also contributed to the increase in exports.

The new record figures for beer exports were announced by the Okinawa Custom-House on August 18. The scale of beer exports in 2015 expanded to over four times that of 2010. This number indicates that beer is now one of the major Okinawan products, along with food products. The sales for the first half of 2016 from January to June increased by 20 percent on the previous year, and it is expected that this year’s record will once again exceed the record from the previous year.

Okinawa’s ratio of beer export on the national level also grew in 2015. Out of Japan’s total exports, Okinawan beer accounted for 3.4 percent of 73,770 kiloliters and 4.5 percent of the 8 billion and 549.79 million yen of sales. As the domestic beer market shrinks, large manufacturers in Japan are attempting to expand their international share. Okinawa-based beers led by Orion Beer exceeded the national average of beer companies’ share of exports. Okinawan companies are trying to expand their share s gradually every year.

The major export markets include Taiwan with 1,367 kiloliters and 181.11 million yen, the U.S. with 545 kiloliters and 105.14 million yen, and Hong Kong with 258 kiloliters and 45.03 million yen.
Orion Beer is aiming to expand its international market share and has started to conduct full-scale marketing in Russia and New Zealand. In Taiwan, “Orion Draft” is now being sold at major convenience stores, and the company’s very first foreign office was opened there last February.

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma) 

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