Japan Wine

Japan’s drinks giant Mercian eyes millennials, sparkling and organic wines for future growth

Japan's Mercian Corporation is looking to millennials, “casual sparkling” and organic wines as growth engines for the company’s future.

Mercian Corporation (“Mercian”), a leading Japanese wine and beverage company owned by Kirin group, presented their wine business strategy for 2021 and tapped “young people”, “casual sparkling” and “organic wines” as growth engines for the company’s future.

According to Mercian, the wine purchase rate of people in their 20s increased in accordance with the increase of “drinking at home” due to Covid-19. The wine purchase rate of male drinkers in their twenties increased by 24% and that of female drinkers by 23% in 2020. 

Mercian’s casual sparkling wine category turned out to be a huge success among young drinkers. Its latest addition MAKER’S RECIPE Sparkling with Peel will be released in March. (Pic: Mercian)

Within the sparkling wine category, Mercian set a category called “casual sparkling wine”. Mercian defines this category as “easy to drink, easy to purchase, easy to use, which can be enjoyed casually in various drinking opportunities” . They have lower alcohol, are smaller in volume and less expensive in price. According to Mercian, the sales volume of  “casual sparkling wines” in 2020 was 130,000 cases*), which is a 61% increase from the previous year. A craft sparkling wine called “MAKER’S RECIPE Sparkling with Hop”, jointly developed by Mercian and Kirin group, was particularly popular among young people in their 20s and 30s. 

Mercian announced that, in 2021,they will double the sales of “casual sparkling wine” from 2020 to 260,000 cases. To begin with, they will introduce a new  craft sparkling wine “MAKER’S RECIPE Sparkling with Peel” on March 2. Citrus peel is macerated in wine, so that it has a slightly bitter taste. The wine has an alcohol content of 8% and is bottled in 500 ml glass bottles. 

From March 30, the company will also start the sales of  no-antioxidant series “Cidre” and “Grapefruit Cidre” in small volumes. These wines are currently bottled in 500ml glass bottles. But Mercian will pack them in 290ml cans shaped like a bottle and sealed with a screw cap. They will be sold only in convenience stores. These strategies are for young people to enjoy the products casually. 

Mercian announced that they also aim to double the sales of “organic wines” from 2020 to 180,000 cases. They will continue to put their energies into Japanese wines which are produced from grapes cultivated within Japan. 

The company’s wine sales target in 2021 is 6.13 million cases, a 5% decrease from 2020. This figure is the sum of locally made and imported wines. 

* one case is 720ml * 12 bottles

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