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Kirin cedes #1 spot in the Japanese market.

After 50 years of holding the lead position in the Japanese beer market, Kirin Brewery Co. dropped to number two in 2001, as the Brewer's Association of Japan reported that Asahi held 38.7% of the beer market at the end of the year, compared to Kirin's 35.8%.

While the drop might be a loss of face for Kirin, Japanese market analysts said the demotion might be a blessing in disguise. For years, they say, Kirin did whatever it took to hold the number one slot, including sacrificing profit margins.

"Even if you have the number-one share in beer, the key is where does the growth come from?" said Yuki Allyson Honjo, an analyst at ING Barings told Reuters. "Asahi keeps talking about grabbing more and more share in Japan, but the problem is diminishing returns. The more share Asahi tries to grab, the more expensive it is going to get"
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Title Annotation:Kirin Brewery Co.
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jan 28, 2002
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