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Major breweries face increasing headwinds, while startups see opportunities. 0% Non-Alcohol Experience in Roppongi offers non-alcoholic wine. (Photo by Yuki Kohara)
Business Spotlight

Asahi and rivals brew up new recipe for drier times in Asia

Pivot to lower alcohol content as drinks culture yields to pandemic and social change

NANA SHIBATA, KIM JAEWON and LIEN HOANG, Nikkei staff writers | Japan

TOKYO/SEOUL/HO CHI MINH CITY -- Roppongi is suffering -- and with it Japan's drinks makers.

Bars in the popular Tokyo nightlife district must close at 8 p.m. under a central government-imposed "state of emergency" to tackle the coronavirus, which is squeezing alcohol sellers. But the greater long-term problem for Japan's brewers and distillers might be seen in the name of one Roppongi bar: 0% Non-Alcohol Experience.

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