Japan’s Sapporo Eyes Beer Shipments at Pre-Quake Levels in May

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Sapporo Breweries Ltd. expects shipments of key beer beverages to return to pre-disaster levels next month, Sapporo Holdings Ltd. President Tsutomu Kamijo told The Nikkei in a recent interview.

With time still needed to fully restore production capacity, Kamijo explained that output of brands other than such key ones as Black Label, Yebisu and Mugi to Hop will be curbed.

Production of some beers, like Off no Zeitaku, has been put on ice.

Shipments from the earthquake-hit Chiba brewery will recover to 80 per cent of pre-quake levels by the end of this month. A portion of the brewery was reopened at the end of March, and the entire set of production processes, including wort boiling, will be brought back onstream this month.

Sapporo’s Sendai plant, which suffered much devastation, aims to resume canning stored beer in May. But the brewer has yet to decide when to restart full-scale manufacturing processes. Shipments will be offset via ramped-up output at three undamaged plants in Shizuoka Prefecture and elsewhere.

Although Sapporo sees itself getting shipments back to normal ahead of the peak demand season of summer, uncertainties remain, including “the fallout from restricted electricity supply,” Kamijo said.