Japan Warms to Alcohol-free Beer during Pandemic
In Japan, some workers who regularly drink beer at the end of the day are giving their livers a rest and turning to beer that is free, or nearly free, of alcohol.
Because of the coronavirus health crisis, many Japanese people are not doing the things they used to do after work. Parts of Japan, including Tokyo, are currently under rules that restrict people's movement until March 21. So, while people in Japan still like to drink beer, many are not doing it as often. They are also trying kinds of beer that have very little alcohol or none at all.
Tadasu Masuda lives in Kobe, Japan. He is trying low-alcohol beers as a way to give his liver a day off. The liver is the organ that works to remove alcohol from the body. Masuda said he is paying more attention to his health now that he is older.
Asahi is a large beverage company in Japan. It expects to make 20 percent more money from low-alcohol beer in 2021 compared to last year. Kirin is another company that makes things to drink. It saw sales grow by 10 percent last year and expects another increase this year.
The increase in sales of non-alcoholic beer might be the result of many Japanese people spending more time at home. In the past, they would order beers together while going out. More people are trying to stay healthy, as well.
Also, fewer people are drinking beer, as wine and other alcoholic drinks become more popular. But the new interest in low-alcohol beer has helped the beverage industry in Japan.
In recent years, many companies started making non-alcoholic beers. They caught on in places like Australia and Germany but not in Japan – until this year.
The chief of Suntory, another large beverage company in Japan, said people only responded to non-alcoholic beer advertising when the product started to taste better. Many people agree that today's non-alcoholic beers taste better than they used to.
Asahi's "Beery" has very little alcohol. But it is supposed to have more taste than earlier versions of low-alcohol beer because of a new way of removing the alcohol. The company plans to offer more low-alcohol beers in coming years.
Kirin and Suntory are also trying to make low-alcohol beers with better ingredients than in the past.
Kazuo Matsuyama is marketing chief for Asahi. He said most beer companies used to advertise to people who had a drink every day. That was about 20 million people. But there are about 80 million people in Japan between the ages of 20 and 60.
"But now we need to look at others," Matsuyama said.
I'm Dan Friedell.
1. none at all 一点也没有
The road got ever worse until there was none at all.
2. in coming years 在未来几年
In coming years these relative positions will dramatically change.
3. as well 也；同样
Government officials clearly deserve some of the blame as well.
4. catch on 变得流行
He invented a new game, but it never really caught on.
由于新冠病毒的健康危机，很多日本人下班后不再继续以往的习惯了。包括东京在内的日本部分地区正在实施限制人们行动的规定，直到3月21日 。所以，尽管日本人仍然喜欢喝啤酒，但很多人已经不常饮酒了 。他们也在尝试各种酒精含量低或根本不含酒精的啤酒 。
增田匡（Tadasu Masuda）住在日本神户。他正在尝试低酒精啤酒，让他的肝脏休息一天 。肝脏是负责将酒精代谢出体外的器官 。增田匡表示，随着年龄的增长，他更加关注自己的健康状况 。
朝日是日本一家大型啤酒公司。与去年相比，该公司预计2021年低酒精啤酒的利润将增加20% 。麒麟是另一家生产啤酒饮料的公司 。该公司去年的销售额增长了10%，预计今年还将继续增长 。
不含酒精的啤酒销量增长或得益于许多日本人居家时间更久。在过去，他们外出时会一起点啤酒 。此外，越来越多的人也在努力保持健康 。
朝日“啤酒”的酒精含量很低。不过，由于一种新式的去除酒精的方法，现在的低酒精啤酒应该比早期的啤酒口感更佳 。该公司计划在未来几年供应更多的低酒精啤酒 。
松山一夫（Kazuo Matsuyama）是朝日啤酒的市场总监。他说，大多数啤酒公司宣传的对象只面向那些每天一杯酒的人群 。这个群体大约有2000万人 。但日本年龄在20岁到60岁之间的人口约有8000万 。