Problems Threaten Japanese Beer Companies

December 10, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. on the decline / ɒn ðə dɪˈklaɪn / (prep. phrase) – experiencing a gradual loss
Example: In our country, beer sales seem to be on the decline.

2. merger / mɜr dʒər / (n.) – a combination of two or more companies into a single company
Example: There will be a merger between the two television networks. 

3. pressure / prɛʃ ər / (n.) – a force or influence
Example: The new CEO feels the pressure to improve the company’s sales.

4. expand / ɪkˈspænd / (v.) – to increase in size, scope, etc.
Example: Their organization expanded to several cities in the country.

5. on the rocks / ɒn ðə rɒks / (idiom) – in a difficult or problematic state
Example: After the scandal, the company was on the rocks.


Read the text below.
Japanese beer companies are on the decline because of two problems.

The first problem is the planned merger between Anheuser-Busch [AN-hahy-zur boo sh] InBev and SABMiller. This merger is the most recent in a decade-long trend of breweries uniting to advance in the industry. However, this merger may produce the world's largest brewer to date and will certainly be one of the biggest competitors Japanese beer companies will face.

The other problem that threatens Japanese beer companies is the declining consumption of beer in Japan. From January to September of this year alone, beer sales in the country decreased by 0.6%. This decline in beer sales has been happening for 19 years now. One of the reasons for the decrease in consumption is the shrinking population in Japan.

These problems gave Japanese beer companies new pressure to unite, both domestically and internationally.

Overseas, Asahi Group Holdings may acquire several European soft drink companies. Japanese beer companies may even expand to the United States. Satoshi Fujiwara of Nomura Securities said that beyond buying a brand, the expansion will allow Japanese beer companies to acquire a sales network. Currently, the presence of Japanese beer in the US market is limited mostly to Japanese restaurants.

Faced with these two problems, Japanese beer companies have to take quick action or risk being left on the rocks.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Why do you think people are drinking less beer in Japan? Enumerate as many reasons as you can.
·         How would you encourage a foreigner to drink local beer from your country?

Discussion B

·         What positive and negative effects of drinking beer do you know of?
·         What beverages other than beer do you drink? Why do you enjoy them?

December 10, 2015