Food & Drinks

Sapporo eyes Japan’s expanding low-alcohol category with 0.7% The Drafty – Just Drinks

Japanese brewer Sapporo has launched a 0.7%-abv beverage with a beer-like taste in its home market.

The malt-based canned drink, called The Drafty, aims to mimic the flavour of beer while also targeting health-conscious consumers. It will be available across Japan from 14 September in a 35cl can.

Sapporo said the new launch has an ‘open’ price-point, although the product is likely to be cheaper than the brewer’s other products. In Japan, malt-based drinks are taxed at a lower rate to beer.

“We are taking on the challenge of new markets with a variety of products that allow customers to discover new enjoyment,” Sapporo added.

Japan’s no- and low-alcohol beer category is expanding. In March, Asahi Group launched the 0.5%-abv Beery as part of a plan to ramp up the company’s portfolio of sub-3.5% abv beer offerings. Asahi said Beery will help form a new lower-than-1% category in the country’s beer market.

Meanwhile, Japan is revising its tax structure to put the country’s three levels of malt alcohol – beer, happoshu and new genre – on equal status by October 2026. The changes will make beer comparatively cheaper to other forms of alcohol.

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