Although Dec 25-29 is a regular workweek here in Japan, things are definitely winding down for the year. Barring any major announcements I expect this Chuhai Watch to be my last post of 2017. It's been an amazing year for the Japanese alcohol industry and I'm looking forward to 2018 already!
- Kirin has announced two new additions to their Honshibori series: the seasonal Honshibori Chuhai Shikikan (Calamondin) and already permanent Honshibori Chuhai Pink Grapefruit now available in a 500ml size. The Shikikan is a hybrid between a citrus and a kumquat, and in Okinawan cooking it sometimes stands in for the shequasar. They are 6% and 5% abv respectively, with both expected on January 30th.
- Speaking of Kirin they've also announced that 2017 has been the best year ever for their canned chuhais. After launching the first Hyoketsu in 2001, they hit a peak of 36.8 million cases in 2006. Sales suddenly dropped the following year but they've been recovering over the past 7 years -- and in 2017 sales have already surpassed that 2006 peak. Particularly Kirin's Tabisuru Hyoketsu series has been doing very well since its introduction this year.
- Suntory will be releasing both the -196°C Sakura Cherry and -196°C Spring Strawberry flavors on February 13. These are both obviously popular flavors to get everyone in the mood for Hanami in the Spring. Both at 4% abv.
- Also from Suntory is the -196°C Strong Zero Kiwi coming again on February 27. It's 9% abv. This must have done well when it was released back in June, since it hasn't even been a year!
- Horoyoi Orange Tea Sour drops on February 20 from Suntory. This one combines the sweet and sour taste of an orange with the floral notes of black tea at 3% abv. It's also a season-limited edition.
- Finally from Asahi is the Mogitate Blue Apricot flavor, another season-limited one available only from January 16 to the end of March. It contains 1.1% real fruit juice and will be at 9% abv in 350ml or 500ml sizes.
Whiskey Richard is the founder of nomunication.jp, and has been saying he has lived in Japan for ten years for the past four years. He enjoys drinking basically anything except straight-up Campari.