Kirin Holdings group company Daiichi Alcohol has just announced a 20% or more increase in prices of neutral spirit and industrial alcohol. This is destined to have knock-on effects for the prices of a huge swathe of the Japanese liquor industry, including canned chuhai, sake, and Japanese whisky.The company’s press release cites ongoing increases of crude alcohol prices as the reason for their price increase. The raw materials cost has been increasing since 2015, but worldwide demand for sanitizer also exploded with the pandemic. Increasing shipping costs, packing costs, and fuel costs were also pointed out as forcing the firm to increase prices across the board.
Crude alcohol may not be a term familiar to many, but it refers to molasses and other grain-based alcohol that has been distilled to a not-so-high purity in countries like Brazil. This crude alcohol is then rectified to 96% abv by companies like Daiichi Alcohol here in Japan, who in turn sell it as neutral spirit.
That neutral spirit finds its way into your belly via RTDs like chuhai, non-junmai sake, and (unfortunately) cheap “whiskies” sold in Japan. We dove deep into Japan’s neutral spirit supply chain in this article if you’re interested in learning more.
With the price increases set to take effect from shipments from June 1, 2022, I expect we’ll see price increases for a wide variety of these kinds of drinks soon.
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