Asahi held top spot in domestic beer shipments

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Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. (2502.TO) maintained its No. 1 position in the Japanese beer market in terms of the number of cases shipped in 2012 for the third consecutive year, according to data released Wednesday by brewers.

The Japanese brewery said its shipments during 2012 dropped 2.0% to 164.298 million cases. That compares with an industry-wide 1.0% fall to 438.110 million cases in the year, the eighth straight year of decline.

In 2012, Asahi maintained a market share of 37.5%, bigger than Kirin Holdings Co.’s 35.6% market share.

With changing consumer tastes, weak economic growth and aging population, the Japanese beer industry has seen demand stagnate in recent years.