Jumbo beer bottles catching on in banquets

Jumbo beer bottles catching on in banquets

Kenta Owatari, a 26-year-old company worker, poured beer from a 1.8 litre bottle into the glasses of about 50 guests during a party held at a restaurant in Hiroshima Prefecture following his wedding banquet in November.

"The unusually large bottle was amusing," Owatari said. "It suited the celebration."

Beer has become available in 1.8 litre bottles, much like those traditionally used for sake.

As the size is viewed as a novelty and people can have fun pouring the beverage into each other's glasses, such jumbo bottles have become a popular choice for parties and as homecoming gifts.

The brew selected by Owatari is called "Kansha no Issho," which means "1.8 litres of gratitude," and retails for 2,376 yen (S$27.20). It was brought to the party by a friend who works for Sankt Gallen Brewery in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture.

As the company received requests from customers to produce beer in large bottles for weddings, funerals and other ceremonies, it marketed in 2009 a jumbo size.

Since then, its sales have been steadily increasing every year, exceeding 10,000 bottles in 2013 and surpassing 10,000 as of October 2014.

Since 2002, the Kizakura Onsen Yurari spa facility in Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture, has been selling Botsumeki Beer in 1.8 litre bottles. Production of the beer, priced at 2,800 yen, is commissioned to a brewery in the prefecture.

"Botsumeki Beer came in small standard-size bottles during the first year," said facility manager Osamu Sato.

"The next year, we added large bottles to the lineup, aiming to attract consumers to its size. We wanted to avoid a so-called sophomore slump."

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