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LEAD: Japan Nov. beer shipments up 3% on brisk 3rd-category beer sales.

TOKYO, Dec. 10 Kyodo

(EDS: ADDING INFO ON ESTIMATED ANNUAL SHIPMENTS IN LAST 2 GRAFS)

Japan's domestic shipments of beer and beer-like beverages in November grew 3.2 percent from a year earlier to 36.41 million cases, the first rise in two months, due to brisk sales of so-called third-category beer, five major brewers said Friday.

Bargain-hunting households turned to third-category beer, which is cheaper than regular beer and ''happoshu'' low-malt beer, they said. One case of beer holds 20 633-milliliter bottles.

Demand for regular beer also rose at restaurants, they said.

Shipments of regular beer gained 2.8 percent to 18.63 million cases and those of third-category beer jumped 10.8 percent to 11.83 million cases, a record shipment for the month of November.

In contrast, happoshu shipments dropped 8.4 percent.

In the January to November period, regular beer shipments accounted for 49.5 percent of total shipments, raising the possibility they might not reach half on an annual basis for the first time this year.

The ratio of third-category beer shipments, meanwhile, is expected to surpass 30 percent of the annual amount, the brewers said.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Dec 13, 2010
Words:191
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