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Business trends

Japan taps the $3bn potential of 'sobernomics'

Nondrinkers fuel demand for alcohol-free wines and spirits

 A limited-edition tea sold by Royal Blue Tea Japan that is priced at 300,000 yen a bottle sold out in three days. (Photo by Jun Takai)

TOKYO -- A new cultural and economic trend called "gekonomics" is spreading in Japan thanks to teetotalers. The term is a play on the word geko, which means someone who does not drink.

More restaurants and bars are serving courses with matching wines and cocktails that are basically alcohol-free. The beverages, which are aimed at the adult palate, are available in department stores. One estimate puts the economic impact of the trend at 300 billion yen ($2.77 billion). That is something everyone in the business can raise a glass to, whatever they are drinking.

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