Japan. Kirin plans to restart operations at its Sendai brewery

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Japanese Kirin Brewery Company aims to restart operations at its facility in Sendai, that is located in the prefecture hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami in March by September or October this year, Koichi Matsuzawa, the company’s president, said at a news conference last week. Kirin Holdings Co. had halted operations at its brewery in northern Japan, that lost four of 15 storage tanks and saw packaging and warehouse facilities flooded by tsunami waves. According to Matsuzawa the brewing section was mostly undamaged. “We have been spared the severe damage that we initially feared,” he was quoted as saying.

Further details and the definite date of the brewery restart will be given later this month, when the progress on infrastructure-rebuilding efforts in the area is assesed, the company said.

The brewery in Sendai, that has a capacity of 190,000 liters of beer and beer-like beverages annually, accounted for about 8% of Kirin’s beer production. The Japanese brewing company said it has increased production at its other plants to make up for the lost output at the Sendai brewery, that ships its products mainly to prefectures in northern Japan.

About Kirin brewery

Kirin sells two of the most popular beers in Japan, Kirin Lager – the country’s oldest beer brand – and Ichiban Shibori. In the happoshu (low-malt) category, Kirin Tanrei is the top seller. Kirin handles domestic distribution for several foreign brands, including Budweiser and Heineken. Kirin’s brewery operations also extend overseas, through strategic alliances, subsidiaries, and affiliates, to China, Taiwan, Australia, the Philippines, Europe, New Zealand and the United States. The company holds a 100% stake in Lion Nathan Limited, a consolidated subsidiary that is based in Australia but has particularly important operations in China. Kirin has a 48% stake in San Miguel Brewery, the dominant brewer in the Philippines. Kirin now applies its fermentation technology to areas such as plant genetics, pharmaceuticals, and bioengineering. Although brewing and related businesses remain the core of Kirin’s activities, the company is also involved in several other sectors: hard liquor, wine, soft drinks, and food products.