Thursday, May 14, 2015

Asahi Announces Price Hike for 2015

Asahi breweries Ltd, the owners of the Nikka Distilling Co, yesterday announced their revised prices for both domestic and imported products in the company’s portfolio. According to the Japanese press release (here) prices will become effective locally from September 1, 2015. The price hike, stated by the company is in accordance to the price increase in barley and raw materials such as corn. Some products have risen up to 44 percent in price.

Domestic brand price revision (excluding tax):




In addition, and although Asahi holdings have not officially made a public announcement, word among working people in the industry is that all aged single malt expressions from both the Yoichi and Miyagikyo stables will disappear from the distillery’s portfolio before the end of the year. Along with this hint of what is to come, apparently the infamous no-age single malts will cease in the 500ml bottling and change to 700ml respectively. In short, if you are a fan of either expression it may pay to stock up - that is to say if you can find anything on the shelves.We all know what happened with Yamazaki 10 and 12 year old expressions.

* Graph taken from the Asahi homepage

6 comments:

  1. Gulp, beyond belief Clint. Not only are some of the prices rises mentioned excessive, the possibility of Age statement single malts from the Nikka disappearing is borderline unconscionable. I would be surprised that they(aged single malts) would disappear from markets outside of Japan.
    Brian

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    1. Hi Brian, did you take particular notice of the price hike for the 21yo Taketsuru pure malt? An extra 4,590 yen is a massive jump! As for markets outside Japan, it appears that aged malts from both Yoichi and Miyagikyo will equally fade out like the domestic market here - well at least in Europe, and according to a trusty contact over there. Time will tell. It is beyond belief as is - try finding a Yoichi 20yo in Japan. Regards, Clint

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  2. Hey Clint. I doubt the cost of importing ingredients are THAT expensive. Is it because of the apparent boom in Japanese whisky awareness around the world and Asahi is trying to cash in on it, i.e., people here realise that Japanese whisky is becoming ever increasingly popular and so they are keen to purchase some? (we know that Japanese people don't really balk at purchasing over-the-top in terms of price when they become popular) [a la the NHK drama Ma-san popularizing J. whisky] Or could it be coupled with NAS becoming more common these days, and again, Asahi is trying to get in on that action as well?

    Jason in Fukuoka

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    1. Hi Jason, while importing ingredients can actually be expensive, especially the volume when considered, the cost alone couldn't/shouldn't contribute to a distillery going full NAS. The expensive price of material could however make the accountant discontinue say an older expression but introduce a younger aged expression before going completely NAS. Awareness, as you pointed out is without doubt a contributing factor, whether intentional or not. For big corporate players in the industry business is business and perhaps it is mostly natural for them to cash in on it, well perhaps in today's time. Certainly media (Mas-san) plays/played an influential part. Throughout the entire drama Nikka stocks were limited, once the program ended one last major shop took place by fans of the drama stripping the shelves bare. Marketing cleverness? Anyway, one thing for sure, there will be many disappointed people, including myself, when the reality hits you cannot pop down the shops to grab a Yoichi 12yo anymore.

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  3. Disturbing news indeed.
    I've always enjoyed the Miyagikyo and Yoichi single malts more than their Suntory counterparts, Yamazaki and Hakushu; I'll be making a few choice purchases this week, that's for sure.

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    1. It is upsetting, as I have said before, it is/was inevitable if you take into account the following influential factors - media, endless awards, the ridiculous premium prices cashed up punters overseas pay on the secondary market, speculators, hype, countless limited editions, the fact there is no cask trading between distilleries, quality, domestic interest, extravagance, new era, the list goes on. Note that it is not just Japanese distilleries (as you know Suntory introduced their NAS followed by taking the Yama and Hak 10yo of the market. Following this is the 12yo expressions. With the additional discontinuation of the 18yo in a few years to come.distilleries), Scottish single malts began their NAS journey a while back, so, I guess it was/is safe to say that Nikka would follow. Shame, if Nikka could keep their head above the water by not reverting to NAS they may have become much more creditable than their competitors.

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