Kirin Brewery Company, a major Japanese company responsible for Japan’s most popular beers (e.g., Kirin Lager, Ichiban Shibori), has just released a new beer that looks like a canned coffee drink.
Released throughout Tokyo on January 19, Yoru Café (Night Café) is a concoction of coffee beans, tea leaves, milk, caramel syrup, and of course 4% whiskey. In addition, it’s is available in two flavors: caffe latte liquor and tea liquor. Unfortunately, each can holds only 190 milliliters (.19 liters), which is approximately 50% less than a typical 12-ounce can of beer holds. To make matters worse, the low-volume beer retails for 148 JPY ($1.80 USD), making it sort of a rip-off, or at least in cheap-beer-man standards.
However, Yoru Café isn’t for cheap beer drinkers like me. Instead, it’s designed to attract young and successful Japanese men and women who typically prefer sipping on coffee to chugging some good ol’ fashioned beer. It’s a brave move by Kirin to try and get hold of a market segment that has gradually been losing interest in beer.
The movement first began with Horoyoi, a fruity alcohol drink released by Suntory Holdings Limited. In 2010, Suntory sold 6-million cases of Horoyoi, which was double what they had initially anticipated. Clearly, this strategy works.
The beauty of Yoru Café and its rival is that they allow young drinkers to enjoy the taste of coffee and catch a comfortable buzz, while at the same time avoiding a hangover. It’s a win/win for everyone.