Asahi Breweries Ltd. will raise the price of beer delivered mainly to bars and restaurants by about 10 percent in March 2018, the company's first price hike since 2008.
The increase will apply to bottles and barrels of the flagship Asahi Super Dry and other labels sold to wholesalers. The price for beer in cans will remain unchanged.
Changes to the liquor tax law that took effect on June 1 more strictly control sales of beer and other alcoholic beverages at prices below the cost involved in retailing them, unless there is a good reason for doing so.
Asahi decided to raise the price of beer because of higher distribution costs caused by a labor shortage, company officials said.
According to the officials, the commercial beer market has been struggling in recent years because of the shrinking population and younger Japanese shifting to other alcoholic beverages.
In 2016, sales of bottled beer decreased by about 40 percent over the figure in 2008. Sales of beer barrels to commercial establishments also declined by 8 percent over the same period.