Crazy beer names and branding lift sales for Japanese manufacturers

“Old wine in new bottle”, the Japanese beer manufacturers seem to have taken this phrase to heart..

Draft beers Asahi, Yebisu and Kirin have been sold for years with a similar can design which can be downright boring and a routine sight. A general perception is that all beers more or less taste the same…. not true though.Crazy Beers for summer in Tokyo's convenience storesYO-HO Brewing Company, part of the Hoshino Resort Chain has been working to innovate and bring some interesting names to their Ale beer offerings. Since 2003 they have been fiddling with interesting names for Ale beers and have seen sales sore on an annual basis. Case in point, see the below beer can “Suiyoubi No Neko”, literal translation is “The Wednesday Cat”. The company says that, at the first glance the customer does not even relate to that as a can of beer. This supposedly catches the attention of the customers and the company has been making a lot of money with this differentiation. Cool crazy naming and relevant branding.Crazy Beers for summer in Tokyo's convenience storesYO-HO Brewing Company, started in 1996 with just 7 employees, they had been riding on the success of Ji-Biru, or local beer which is the commonly used term for microbrew in Japan. This wave ended in 2003 and the company was looking for further differentiation which they hit the jackpot with weird names and unique branding.

One more example is “Porter” is an English traditional, dark-colored beer with roasted malt flavor. Beer of this style is popular not only in England but all over the world. According to the company they brew fresh and genuine Porter in Japan. Deep dark in color, Tokyo Black is a Porter with extremely rich taste and creamy top. Crazy Beers for summer in Tokyo's convenience storesThe most interesting one is Indo Ao-Oni, literally means Indian Blue Demon. Now that is a queer name. Tried it and this top selling craft beer had a sweet smell and after taste to it, it made me think of the asian honeydew drinks, sort of. Not as bitter as I had thought it would be, I guess a part of me likes it for the unique fruity taste, it’s different. About 250~280JPY, but high 7% alcohol. So watch it.Crazy Beers for summer in Tokyo's convenience storesAccording to the company’s website

“In 18th century, Indian Pale Ale, well-hopped and high-alcohol Pale Ale, was brewed to protect beer from spoilage during long sailing from England to India. Aooni India Pale Ale fascinates you with the balance of assertive bitterness and its strong body. Recommended serving temperature:13℃”

Crazy Beers for summer in Tokyo convenience storesIn September 2014 30% of the company was sold to Kirin Beer, the two breweries agreeing to cooperate in business areas such as shipping, marketing, procurement and product development. With such strong backing from a major label, Yo-Ho will not doubt keep making interesting appearances in summer on convenience store shelves. Hot Summer and “Cool” Beer names, nice… 

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