Asahi Beer sets up European subsidiary

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TOKYO -- Asahi Breweries Ltd. opened up a European subsidiary in London on May 1 in order to boost its beer sales in the region. The new company, called Asahi Beer Europe Ltd., has working capital of $700,000 and its main efforts will be on sales promotion for Asahi's biggest selling beer, Asahi Super Dry.

Asahi sold 68,000 cases of beer (one case equals 24, 350ml-cans) in Europe in 1997 and is hoping to increase the figure to 140,000 cases this year. The new European company will be responsible for sales promotion throughout the continent, officials said.

Asahi's move comes just days after its main rival in Japan, Kirin Brewery, said that it would acquire a major interest in Australasian brewery Lion Nathan. With competition heating up at home, the two companies are looking for new revenue in overseas markets.

As a result of Asahi Super Dry's success, Asahi took over the leading position in the Japanese beer market from Kirin in terms of monthly shipments in January.

It was the first time in 44 years for Kirin to lose the top spot in monthly shipments.

Copyright May 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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