Japanese beer
Photo: Gerold Grotelueschen/Dreamstime

These are the 30 most popular beers in Japan – ranked

Asahi, Kirin and Suntory are all featured in the ranking – but which label takes the top spot as Japan’s most popular beer?

Kaila Imada
Written by
Kaila Imada

While we all appreciate a good Japanese whisky or a well-made cocktail, sometimes an ice cold beer is all we need, especially when the weather is starting to warm. Step into a bar or convenience store and you’ll be bombarded with an overwhelming variety of beers, which begs the question: ‘What beer is everyone drinking’? 

To help answer this question, Japanese marketing company CCC Marketing compiled the purchasing data of 70 million beer drinkers between the ages of 20 and 69 in 2021. From the data, they were able to gather the top 30 beers that were most frequently bought in Japan. The list includes regular beers, happoshu or low-malt beers, as well as shinjanru beers containing no malt.

Coming in at number one is Asahi Beer’s Super Dry, followed by Suntory's Kinmugi and Asahi’s Style Free. Here’s the entire top 30 list:

  1. Super Dry, Asahi Beer
  2. Kinmugi, Suntory
  3. Style Free, Asahi Beer 
  4. Nodogoshi, Kirin Beer 
  5. Hon Kirin, Kirin Beer 
  6. Clear Asahi, Asahi Beer 
  7. Ichiban Shibori, Kirin Beer
  8. Tanrei Green Label, Kirin Beer
  9. Black Label, Sapporo
  10. Tanrei Platinum Double, Kirin Beer
  11. Premium Malts, Suntory
  12. The Rich, Asahi Beer
  13. Tanrei Gokujo, Kirin Beer
  14. Ichiban Shibori Zero Sugar, Kirin Beer
  15. Yebisu, Sapporo 
  16. Kinmugi 75% Less Sugar, Suntory
  17. Lager, Kirin Beer
  18. Gold Star, Sapporo
  19. Kinmugi The Lager, Suntory
  20. Spring Valley Hojun 496, Kirin Beer
  21. Asahi Nama Beer, Asahi Beer
  22. Perfect Suntory Beer, Suntory
  23. Nodogoshi Zero, Kirin Beer
  24. Mugi to Hoppu, Sapporo
  25. Off, Asahi Beer
  26. Lager, Sapporo
  27. Orion Draft, Asahi Beer
  28. Clear Asahi Zeitaku Zero, Asahi Beer
  29. Akiaji, Kirin Beer
  30. Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch 

Even with a number one ranking, the Asahi brand appears only a total of eight times in the top 30, whereas Kirin Beer has 11 of its labels in the list. Another interesting find is that low-malt and no-malt beers are equally as popular as regular beer. This could be due to the fact that Japan's Liquor Tax Law allows for these beers to be priced lower than regular beer due to the lower malt ratio. You could surmise that they are more enticing to consumers because they are cheaper.

Interestingly, the study shows that Asahi’s Super Dry is a constant favourite amongst drinking adults of all ages. Those in their 30s and older seem to lean towards more ‘health-conscious’ choices such as Kirin's Tanrei Green Label (which has 70 percent less sugar), Ichiban Shibori No Sugar and Suntory's Kinmugi 75% Less Sugar.

To read more about the beer study, visit CCC Marketing’s website (in Japanese only).

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