It was a sad day for beer lovers across Japan on Jan 8, when Sapporo Breweries put the lid on an exclusive new brew release just four days before it was due to go on sale.
According to the company, the new beer, called Kaitakushi Beer Tailored, used the same traditional manufacturing methods as Japan’s first beer factory, Kaitakushi Brewery, founded in Sapporo, Hokkaido, in 1897, and was set to be sold exclusively at FamilyMart convenience stores around the country on Jan 12.
However, the beer’s release was pulled from sale before even making it to stores, and the problem wasn’t connected to the beer itself but the cans they were packaged in, as they were found to contain a spelling mistake on the label.
▼ The cans had “Lagar” instead of “Lager” printed on them.
Sapporo decided this was an error that warranted cancellation of the new release, issuing a statement of apology that read: “Due to incorrect spelling found in a section of the Kaitakushi Beer Tailored product design, we have decided to discontinue sales. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience to customers.”
However, customers were quick to let the company know on social media that they didn’t care about the spelling error – they just wanted to taste the beer they’d been waiting so long for. Others expressed concerns about unnecessary wastage, wondering what would happen to the product, given that it was likely to be canned and ready to go out to stores by the time the mistake was discovered.
As it turns out, Sapporo and Family Mart were carefully listening to their customers, as the companies sent out the following statement today: “On Jan 13, we cancelled the decision to suspend sales and would like to inform you that the product will now go on sale on Feb 2. We would like to thank you for your warm opinions and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to so many customers due to the policy change.”
They also explained the reason for the decision to go ahead with the launch, albeit now slightly delayed, saying: “We announced on Jan 8 that we would cancel sales due to a spelling error in a part of the design on this product. However, following the announcement, people voiced concerns about what would happen to the product and a large number of people expressed their desire for it to go on sale. Therefore, after careful consideration by both companies [Sapporo and FamilyMart] we took the opinions of our customers seriously and decided to revoke the decision to cancel sales.”
Both companies made it clear that the cans would be going on sale with the incorrectly spelt “Lagar” printed on them, while reminding customers that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the quality or ingredients of the beer inside the cans.
Needless to say, customers were thrilled with the announcement, peppering Twitter with celebratory emojis and comments like:
“Thank you, Sapporo! I’d been looking forward to this so I’m thrilled!”
“No need to apologize–these cans will become rare collectors’ items!”
“I don’t usually drink beer but I’ll be making an exception for this one!”
“I’m so glad the beer isn’t being wasted! I’ll definitely be buying them!”
“A happy result for everyone involved! Cheers to Sapporo!”
With so many businesses, and customers, doing it tough these days during the pandemic, it really is nice to see this story of a beer in limbo wrap up with a happy ending. With all the attention surrounding the new beer, it’s likely to become one of Sapporo’s quickest-selling limited-edition releases, though, so keep your eyes peeled for it at your nearest FamilyMart from Feb 2, where it will be available in 350-milliliter and 500-milliliter cans for 219 yen and 286 yen respectively.
Source: Sapporo Beer, Family Mart
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