Japan & Malaysia: Asahi Super Dry performance in Malaysia ahead of its ...
... brewer’s targets
The sight of Asahi Super Dry taps is common in most bars in major cities around Malaysia today, as the brand has experienced strong double-digit growth since its launch in December 2011, The Star reported on August 16.
Carlsberg Malaysia marketing director Juliet Yap said distribution for the premium beer, under the Carlsberg umbrella has been on a steady rise, as it is positioned at pubs, clubs, hotels, hypermarkets, supermarkets and also coffee shops.
Carlsberg has an agreement with Asahi Breweries to brew and distribute the latter’s beer in Malaysia.
“Asahi Super Dry has been very well received and its volume and distribution is ahead of our target.
“The distribution channel for Asahi is quite wide and we have gained strong acceptance in Penang, Johor Baru, Kuantan, Kota Kinabalu and the Klang Valley.
“The beer has caught on among the mid to higher-income group, between the ages of 25 to 34 and it is now the fastest growing premium beer in Malaysia,” said Yap.
The flagship product, from Asahi Breweries Ltd, a leading brewery and soft drinks based in Tokyo, Japan, holds a significant share of the Japanese beer market.
Yap said after sourcing for a premium beer in Asia to add to Carlsberg’s collection of premium beers, Asahi Super Dry was deemed perfect in terms of its popularity and taste profile.
“One of the challenges in brewing Asahi Super Dry locally is meeting Asahi Breweries’ high expectation of quality because that is their No.1 priority.
“Carlsberg Malaysia, a subsidiary of the Carlsberg Group and the world’s fourth largest brewery in the world has superior brewing technology and expertise.
“We ensure that every brew which comes out from the production line is of top and consistent quality.
“We are honoured the brew masters of Asahi shared secrets of karakuchi brewing techniques (a Japanese brewing style that yields outstanding fermentation and aroma) with our local brew master, in ensuring quality and standards are observed and delivered at all times,” she said.
Yap said the companies worked closely to ensure both parties were satisfied with the results in producing a brew matching standards of Asahi Super Dry produced in Japan.
“Since the start of the commercial run, we proactively sent random samples to Japan for tasting purposes.
“This helps ensure that Asahi Super Dry brewed locally is consistent with that in Japan,” she said.
The company’s primary beer from 1957 through the late 1980s was Asahi Gold (overtaking Asahi Draft, its original formula, which remains in production).
In 1981, Asahi held 10.1% of the beer market in Japan, holding on to third place rating after Kirin (63.1%) and Sapporo (20.1%).
The market share figures from that time may have been uninspiring, but Asahi’s continued focus on improving its products would bring about spectacular growth — by 2012, its share of the Japanese beer market had vaulted to 50.6% , with Kirin settling in at 25.1% and Sapporo holding on to 13.2% of the share.
This was attributed to the launch of Asahi Super Dry in 1987, which initiated the Japanese craze for dry beer, resulting in the dramatic turnaround in business performance.
Introduced as Japan’s first karakuchi draft beer, it is well liked for its characteristic sharpness and drinkability with no bitter aftertaste.
The company’s research and development Centre developed Asahi yeast strain No. 318, which helps yield outstanding fermentation and a complex aroma to produce an elegant and sophisticated flavour that meets market demands.
The introduction of Asahi Super Dry propelled the company to greater heights, as beer drinkers took to the dry beer with much fervour, leading to Asahi commanding a lion’s share of the Japanese market.
Asahi Group public relations manager Takayuki Tanaka said the company wants to work with strong local partners in forming strategic partnerships to improve its global positioning.
“The brand is currently sold in 70 markets worldwide with South Korea as our biggest market outside of Japan,” Tanaka said.
Asahi is brewed in North America, China, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Russia, Thailand and Malaysia.
“The sales of Asahi Super Dry has seen a 10 fold increase from 2010 to 2011 and we are assured of more positive growth. We experienced an increase of 14% to 15% in global sales last year,” Tanaka said, adding that its worldwide ranking is at No 12 or 13.
In its global outreach, Asahi’s has made positive inroads in widening its network in South-East Asia. Besides its involvement with Carlsberg, Asahi Group also has a similar partnership with Thailand’s Boon Rawd Brewery, and it set up a partnership in Indonesia last year.
“We would like to continue working with Carlsberg so we can be the No. 1 premium beer in Malaysia,” Tanaka added.
Asahi brand manager Calvin Khoo said Asahi Super Dry had a strong appeal among Malaysian drinkers, both men and women.
Promotional activities, consumer campaigns and educating its target audience through lifestyle and music events has proven effective in marketing the brand.
“Although the demand has been growing and the success rate since its introduction is astounding, we are aiming for Asahi Super Dry to be the No.1 premium beer in Malaysia.
“There is still much work to be done,” he said.