I Think I’m Turning Japanese

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Anheuser-Busch will take things a step further in their 10-year relationship with the Japanese brewer Kirin. A-B and Kirin have decided that the King of Beers will take on the marketing and selling responsibilities for the Kirin brands in the United States   Over the last decade A-B has been brewing and distributing Kirin in the United States, giving them insight into the growth potential of the brand.

The move is not a surprise, as we reported just last week, A-B has been making strides to add more premium brands to their portfolio.  By adding the sales and marketing of Kirin, A-B will have the opportunity to see more benefits of the ever-growing Asian beer market.

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Under the new agreement Anheuser-Busch will have full oversight of both Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light in the United States.  Kirin will maintain the trademark responsibility for both brands.  August A. Busch IV, president of A-B commented on the potential of Kirin due to the recent demand for high-end Asian cuisine and culture, “The Kirin beers are of the highest quality and have enormous potential, as the Asian influence is rapidly growing.  The agreement enhances a global relationship between our two companies.”

The deal seems to be beneficial to both brands.  A-B has been able to watch closely as the Kirin brands have grown in popularity amongst American consumers over the last 10 years.  With a decade’s worth of research behind them, A-B is certainly making a very conservative, if not informed decision.  Likewise, Kirin will be able to focus on their domestic sales and marketing and leave their foreign interests in the hands of the largest and most successful brewery in the United States.  With the shift from contract to licensed brewing, A-B will assume both loss and profits - allowing Kirin to sit back and collect their licensing fee.  Nice deal.