Japanese brewing group Kirin posted a 2.7% drop in interim sales which it mainly blamed on a decline in the demand of beer, spirits and wines.

For the first six months ended June 30 sales dropped to 727.8bn yen from 784.1bn yen in 2001. Pre-tax profit decreased from 33bn yen to 30.2bn yen.

The group said that against the backdrop of economic conditions and diversification of consumer preference, demand for happo-shu continued to expand, while demand for beer declined.

In the market for spirits and wines, weakness in the bar and restaurant market due to the recession led to a decline in total demand. The soft drink business was said to have remained strong.