Japanese wine drinkers will have to dig deep to pay for their favorite bottles as wine retailers and merchants in the country pass on price hikes to end consumers as Japanese yen continues to depreciate.
Prices on some 20,000 food and drink items in Japan have gone up this year, according to researcher Teikoku Databank, particularly prices for imported items. Wine merchants in the country last month have increased retail prices at least by 10% driven by higher operation costs and weak yen.
“It’s not just the dollar. We also offer a lot of European wines, so overall I really have to think about the pricing in store,” Iwamoto, the owner of the Wine & Weekend shop in the Nihonbashi area of central Tokyo, told Reuters.
“Unfortunately, I have to pass some of the burden on to my customers, which as a shop owner is really painful.” The shop owner has raised prices on her imported wines by about 10% in September.
Similarly, importer Iconic Wine Japan, which represents about 30 brands said it has raised retail prices by 10% across the board last month and will like increase again in a few months.
Last year, Japan imported US$1.6 billion worth of wines, a 12% increase from 2020, according to its Customs and Tariff Bureau, led by wines from France, Italy and Chile. Imported wines account for 70% of wines drunk in the market.
Next month, when Beaujolais Nouveau, one of the most popular French wines in Japan, hit the market, consumers will pay at least 40% more. Major drinks companies Kirin Holdings Co and Suntory Holdings raised prices on their Beaujolais bottles by 40% or more this year and reduced the variety of offerings.
Not just wine, beer companies in the country also hiked prices, as we have reported. Earlier in April, Japan’s largest beer maker Asahi announced its first price hike for canned beer in 14 years, along with whisky and other products under heightening cost pressure and consumer demand.
Prior to Asahi’s price increase, Suntory announced price increase on the retail prices of 31 different products from eight whisky brands last December, which took effect starting on 1 April this year. The increase rate ranges between 5-28%.