An Asda own-label ale has become the second-best selling beer in a Japanese supermarket chain.
The retailer’s Extra Special Golden Ale, which is brewed by Shepherd Neame, has become a hit with shoppers at the Seiyu chain. Seiyu, like Asda, is owned by Walmart. The beer was rolled out to 368 of the Japanese stores earlier this year, and is now only outsold by a leading local brand.
And, incredibly, sales of the Extra Special beers are now higher in Japan than they are in the UK – by 155% in the case of Golden Ale, and by 125% for Extra Special Gentlemen James (this beer is called Gentlemen Jack in the UK market but was changed for the export market to differentiate it from Jack Daniel’s).
Asda has been selling its Extra Special wines in Seiyu stores for four years. “We’ve built up a real customer trust in the brand,” said Andy Clarke, general manager for exports at Asda sourcing arm IPL. “We currently source over 50 products for Walmart Japan and China, giving our producers a unique opportunity to access emerging markets, as well as supplying to the UK.”
Kent-based Shepherd Neame said it had exported its beers to Japan in small volumes in the past, but this had vastly increased following the Seiyu listing. “As a result of our ales going into Seiyu stores, production at our brewery has increased by 413% for the Golden Ale and 185% for Gentleman James,” said Shepherd Neame assistant export manager Chris Hole.