Photo: PR Times

Japan’s best-selling beer changing its recipe for first time in 35 years

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Right on the can, Asahi Super Dry bills itself as “The beer for all seasons.” That promise of permeance is set for a revision, though, as Asahi Breweries has announced that for the first time since Super Dry was released, it’ll be changing the beer’s brewing process.

Super Dry first went on sale in 1987, when the concept of a “dry” beer was a novel, and in the minds of many uninitiated consumers, confusing, concept. Asahi wanted to create a beer that was flavorful but had a sharp, clean finish, much like the types of sake and wine described as “dry.” Curious customers quickly fell in love with Asahi Super Dry, and in just a few years’ time it became Japan’s best-selling beer, a title it’s held on to ever since.

Recently, though, Super Dry’s sales haven’t been as super as they once were. For 2021, Asahi Breweries sold 60.82 million cases of their flagship brew, and while that’s a lot, it’s down by about 30 percent from Super Dry’s peak of popularity in 2000, so the company is hoping that giving the beer a revamp will restore it to its full glory. The big change is a switch to late hopping. In simple terms, the technique is just what it sounds like: adding hops later in the brewing process, so that they have a more pronounced effect on the finished product. Specifically, Asahi Breweries says it wants to give Super Dry a more robustly hoppy aroma than it has now, while still preserving its dry finish, for a more satisfying overall drinking experience.

However, while sales might be down, you don’t sell 60-million plus cases of beer without a whole lot of people already liking it just fine as-is, and Twitter reactions to the announcement of the new Super Dry are far from universally enthusiastic.

“Not a good idea to mess with Super Dry’s flavor. Everyone likes it, so it’s a good choice if you’re having a party with other people. Asahi Breweries should just bring out a new type of beer and sell both.”

“Giving it a stronger hop smell is going to screw with the taste of the food you eat while you’re drinking it. The real appeal of Super Dry is how great it is as a meal-time beer.”

“I’m looking forward to trying the new version.”

“Can’t wait.”

“A new Super Dry…I’m half intrigued, and half scared.

“Don’t need the extra hoppiness. Super Dry is best when you take a big smooth gulp of it.”

As many commenters have pointed out, Super Dry’s smoothness, without being bland or watery, is what its biggest fans love about it. While hoppy microbrews and craft beer bars have been gradually carving out a bigger market for themselves in Japan, the country’s drinking culture is still predominantly centered on friends or coworkers knocking back a few cold ones while simultaneously eating dinner at an izakaya pub or restaurant. Super Dry’s balanced flavor profile means it goes well with just about any kind of food and can be enjoyed by just about anyone who likes beer, making it a crowd-pleasing choice for group drinking parties.

Asahi Breweries believes customers will like the new Super Dry even more, but it’s hard not to be reminded of the New Coke fiasco in 1985, when the soda maker was immediately hit with a backlash from pre-existing fans who felt they’d tampered with perfection and wanted no part of the replacement. The new Asahi Super Dry is set to start showing up in stores and restaurants in mid-February, at which point we’ll find out if Asahi Breweries’ confidence in it is justified, or if maybe they’ll feel pressured to start offering an Asahi Super Dry Classic too.

Sources: Nihon Keizai Shimbun via Hachima KikoPR TimesTwitter

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Asahi Super Dry to sell draft beer in a can

-- Asahi combines beer, cherry blossoms, and Nogizaka46 idols in touching new commercial 【Video】

-- Happy Father’s Day, Japan-style with the Asahi Super Dry beer tower set【Photos】

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I'd like to try this personally

0 ( +5 / -5 )

It will still taste like watered down cat pee though!

1 ( +16 / -15 )

Less rice, more barley please. Suntory Premium Malts is the far superior beer.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Premium malt is indeed a very good beer, but super dry had it's place also - especially in the very hot and humid summers. I actually like them both. Those that say it tastes bad are either the IPA-from-a-wine-glass-ONLY girlies or don't actually know beer.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Whatever it ends up tasting like I’m sure it will be ‘umai’ in the eyes of most - just because it is Asahi Super Dry.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Name has to be "Super Wet" this time.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Asahi was my Number 1 beer for many many years, but currently it lost its Number 1 position to Yebisu.

And by the way, I think it is not a good idea to change the receipe.

Bring out a new one is ok, but change the original one is not a good idea.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

My least favorite Japanese beer. Suntory, Sapporo and Kirin are so much better. Asahi has better sales and PR people.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

I don’t drink beer for the same reason that I drink wine. Most major beer brands have a consistent flavor that I can match with food easily and most alcohol drinkers will drink it at different events. I was a latecomer to the craft beer movement and by the time discovered it, there were really no entry level craft beers and the hops was getting out of control. So, now I’m not really a craft beer fan at all. Each glass or can is like playing Russian roulette. If Asahi goes this route with Super Dry, I’ll stop buying it entirely.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Leave. It. Alone.

Super Dry is a beer that compliments Japanese food well, so let's keep it that way.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Super bad idea.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Superdry is cat's per!

Sapporo black label is the best!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

A bold business move? Probably not, the changes will probably be as significant as when they change the colour of the cans in autumn and spring.

Next year's campaign: 32 more bubbles per can!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yebisu is my golden beer.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

A looming disaster: "Don't fix it if it ain't broke."

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Sapporo black label is like drinking muddy water.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

there are much better ones on market than this industrial so called beer without smell or good flavour,say Suntory malts or Ebisu for example...

0 ( +4 / -4 )

My regular beer. Not sure if it’s a good idea to change the recipe though

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'll give it a try.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

New Coke?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Looking forward to trying it! I hope they have some food pairing recommendations.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A really weak beer with no backbone.

Not surprised sales have plumetted as Japanese people get exposure to and more educated about different kinds of brew.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I love the idea of them changing it. It’s a shame when brands get boxed in and too scared to shake things up. That usually results in other companies passing you by.

It’s like telling a band to never change their sound from your favorite era. I get it, but it’s quite uninspiring for the creators.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“If it’s not broken don’t fix it!”

I prefer Kirin.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

People thinking Asahi is a good beer, should really try some average German, Belgium, Czech or Danish beer. Even the worst one are 10 classes above it.

Unfortunatelly the import price of those is too big for some reasons...

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Japanese, German, Belgium, Czech or whatever.

Each to his own.

Just enjoy it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not surprised sales have plumetted as Japanese people get exposure to and more educated about different kinds of brew.

There are some brilliant smaller breweries in Japan that are gaining market share on the majors all the time. Better quality and taste to the macro brews - in my mind anyway.

Hitachino Nest is one of my favorites.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Kirin is a world class beer.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

All the main beers here have a distinct taste, kirin, sapporo and asahi and ebisu are the best tasting beers imo. If you want to offer a new asahi recipe why not just launch a new beer brand?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Czech or Danish beer. Even the worst one are 10 classes above it.

Visited Czech once and the beer is amazing. But when in Rome buy what is affordable.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I find it hard to believe that Asahi's management are so stupid as to replicate the Coke fiasco, so this is surely a marketing trick to raise the profile of their beer. They will probably end up bringing out a second beer, 'Asahi Super Hops'! Well, that's what I would do, anyway.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Asahi super dry is the worst of Japan's 'lagers'.



Premium Malts

Asahi Super dry

Recently I tend to go the craft route or just buy import Belgium Trappist beers as I don't drink out much anymore. Leffe, delirium tremens, westmalle, Duvel etc are all great. Recently I found a good danish beer than can be bought in Japan quite cheaply called Mikkeller, very good.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

While super dry doesnt taste bad, IS super BLAND!!!

Any other mass produced brew tastes better than SD does!!!

That said thank goodness craft brews are here & around the world, I rarely drink mass produced stuff anymore

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese beer in particular Asahi Super Dry for the most part, go actually very well with Japanese food and that’s just about it. It’s the not the beer you drink when you go to relaxing pub. I’ll take any US craft brew or British Stouts over any Japanese mass produced beer.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japanese-made spirits, especially whisky and gin, are far superior to the wine (sake aside) and beer wannabes.

Putting aside the the prohibitibvely expensive boutique beers (1,200 for a 330 ml can!) for a moment, Japanese beer is almost universally interchangeable with bilge water.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The only beer in that Asahi Dry brewery is when someone of the staff has secretly a can of rivals Yebisu, Suntory or Sapporo in his locker. lol

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Guess I’m no longer a Super Dry Drinker…they always gotta’ SCREW with stuff

0 ( +0 / -0 )

IPA and high BTU brews are popular but I can't stand them. Who likes grapefruit beer? I hope they keep Asahi Black.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thats the GREAT reason craft brews are awesome, you have CHOICES, no one is forcing an IPA on you, drink what you like & you DONT have to drink the same brew all night.

Thank the BEER GODS we have choice now....a good thing!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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