Japan’s Asahi to Keep Hyogo Brewery Open Another Year

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Japan’s Asahi Breweries Ltd. said that it will put off closing its Nishinomiya plant by one year to the end of August 2012 since power shortages at Tohoku and Kanto facilities will hamper efforts to raise output.

The Nishinomiya brewery in Hyogo Prefecture churned out around 23.1 million cases of beer and similar drinks in 2010, accounting for roughly 13 per cent of total output. Asahi unveiled last September a plan to shutter the plant this coming August due to aging equipment and a shrinking domestic market. It had planned on concentrating output at its Suita facility in Osaka Prefecture.

But worries about power shortages are even spreading west of central Japan now that Chubu Electric Power Co. has shut its Hamaoka nuclear plant in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi facility. Asahi decided to postpone the plant closure because of concerns about product shortages at the end of the year, the second-biggest demand period behind summer.

Asia Pulse