TOKYO (TR) – The habits of Japan’s beer-drinking salaryman are changing. No longer can big brewers such as Asahi, Sapporo and Ebisu rely on the past as craft beer is quietly attracting more oyaji, as middle-aged men are known in Japan.
For Father’s Day, June 21, the Shukan Ascii (June 17) weekly reports most men would like to receive alcohol from their children as a gift. The results of a survey on the Yahoo! Japan Shopping site, in which multiple answers were allowed, were on the surface unsurprising: Offerings from Asahi, Suntory, Kirin and Sapporo, Japan’s big brewers, took the top five spots. At number six, however, was craft beer, which attracted 18 percent of respondents.
The survey also showed that most fathers would rather receive alcohol (30 percent) than a letter or card (27 percent) from their children. “As I thought, fathers love booze!” wrote the Ascii journalist.
Craft beer has grown in popularity in recent years. Sales in Japan have trebled in the last decade, according to Nippon News Network (May 20), rising 7 percent in 2014 after logging a 15 percent increase the year before, Bloomberg reports (May 6).
Popularity for craft beer has come for a number of reasons. Most bars serving craft beers are smoke-free, and offer a wide range of types of beers, many of which are were not available in Japan until relatively recently.
Among the companies looking to capitalize on the recent popularity of craft beer is Tokyo Disney Resort in Chiba Prefecture. It is selling bottles of the craft beer Harvest Moon with messages done by a professional handwriter as Father’s Day gifts, the Nikkei Shimbun (June 20) reports.