Failure Case Study: 1% Alcohol Drinks; The risk of innovation blurring the identity of alcoholic and soft drinks

Japan's flavored alcoholic beverage market has seen high growth recently. The market volume hit a high of 2.5 billion liters in 2013, 4.5 times larger than in 2003. The market has since been steady, and major manufacturers have been focused on flavored alcoholic beverages as one of their core categories. The competition for new product development has been fierce, and various innovations have been released. However, these innovations do not always get a great response from consumer. Product developers should be particularly wary of the gap between alcoholic beverages and adult soft drinks.

Scope

• Japan's two major manufacturers, Kirin and Suntory, released canned alcoholic drink brands in 2015 – Kirin Butterfly and Suntory The O.N.E – with a 1% alcohol content, both using slogans suggesting that they allow consumers to enjoy alcohol without getting too drunk.

• 1% alcohol drinks lost the distinction between other low-alcohol beverages and adult soft drinks. The production of both brands was terminated shortly after launch.

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Companies mentioned

Sapporo Breweries

Kirin Company

Suntory

Asahi Soft Drinks

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