Japanese lovers of Beaujolais Nouveau wine will likely dampen their enthusiasm this year as importers raise prices, drastically reduce product offerings and even resort to plastic bottles to cope with soaring costs.
In the latest example of inflationary pressures as sky-high fuel prices drive up production and transportation costs, Japanese beverage giant Kirin Holdings Co said it would switch to PET bottles and offer just two products instead. of the usual 10 this year.
Kirin’s recommended retail price for a 750ml bottle will also more than double from last year to 4,310 yen ($32).
Rival Suntory Holdings is raising the price of its main Beaujolais offering by about 40% to 3,500 yen, while cutting the number of products it offers to three from 15 last year.
The fall release of fruity red wine French Beaujolais is eagerly awaited in Japan, which is the world’s largest importer.
Japan imported around 320,000 cases in 2020, or about 3.8 million bottles, accounting for nearly half of the region’s exports, according to industry group Inter Beaujolais.
Consumer prices are rising in Japan after decades of deflation, accelerated by a sharp weakening of the yen to its lowest level in 20 years, soaring energy costs and logistical blockages caused by the war in Ukraine.
In 2021, French exports of wines and spirits reached a new record in value, boosted by the lifting of American tariffs and the economic recovery after the pandemic, according to the French industrial group FEVS.
News by Reutersedited by ESM. For more beverage news, click here. Click subscribe to register ESM: European Supermarket Magazine