Retail in Asia


Creating an iconic Japanese product: Asahi beer looks to reinvent itself with strategic new positioning

Leading Japanese beer company Asahi has unveiled a refreshed appearance and enhanced flavour, drawing inspiration from the dynamic energy of Japan. 

After a successful introduction in Japan in 2022, the new Asahi Super Dry has launched its reinvention in the Asia-Pacific region, hosting campaigns in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. 

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Marking the first time the brand has refined its recipe since 1987, Asahi aims to provide elevated drinking experiences to a growing consumer base captivated by products from Japan. 

Building upon Super Dry’s iconic silver aesthetic, the rebranding showcases subtle design adjustments in the packaging to capture the essence of ‘modern Japan’ – one that is characterised by reinvention, innovation, and traditional craftsmanship, according to the company.

Retail in Asia speaks with Kinyi Choo, managing director for Asahi Beer Asia, on the brand’s revamp and Asia’s beer industry. 

RiA: What does beer consumption and culture look like in Asia? What was the motivation behind the rebrand?

Choo: The Asia Pacific region has emerged as a leading force in the global beer market, especially with  regards to the region’s vast population and evolving consumer preferences. The region is  becoming a dynamic center for the global beer industry, providing enormous prospects for breweries, distributors, and beer fans alike. 

Source: Asahi

This year is a pivotal point for Asahi as we are reinventing and exploring new ways forward. A recent report by GlobeNewswire about the beer market indicated that Asia Pacific is expected to be  the largest market for beer, accounting for more than 40 percent of the global beer market demand by  2025. Such data indicated that there is a growing demand in the Asia market that Asahi can leverage. The Asia beer industry is currently in a state of flux, where consumers in the region are  increasingly turning to premium beers. We see this shift as an opportunity to respond by bringing  an elevated and innovative experience – an unexpected journey of Modern Japan – to consumers as an emotional benefit.

By introducing a more distinctive style of Asahi Super Dry, we aim to become one of the key players in the premium beer segment across the globe. Following the success Asahi achieved in Japan, becoming the number 1 selling beer brand, we are  excited to introduce the new premium and tactile silver brand world to the rest of Asia-Pacific markets, and inspire the markets by the vibrancy of Modern Japan. 

RiA: Please tell us about the objectives Asahi Super Dry wants to achieve through this rebrand. 

Choo: Through the brand revamp, we aim to embrace the re-invention of traditions and inspire progress. Fuelled by the unexpected liveliness and vibrancy of Modern Japan, we aim to build an elevated positioning for the brand, and to stand out from other premium beers across APAC markets and embark on a journey to becoming a true global icon with a taste like no other.

The new Asahi Super Dry is here to encourage curiosity and the exploration of Modern Japan in a way that is beyond the ordinary. It presents an opportunity for new discoveries and strives to cultivate an emotional bond with and appeal to people who seek enrichment. This rebrand consists of the first recipe refinement since the introduction of Asahi in 1987. We wish to leverage the change in taste profile to redefine and amplify the unique sake-inspired  crisp sensation of the original Super Dry, making Asahi the perfect pairing with any cuisine, a  great breakthrough in the beer market. We are looking to communicate with consumers the uniqueness of the Asahi Super Dry curve – the quick peak and clean finish in flavour, which brings out how Asahi Super Dry can simultaneously be immersive and minimalistic. 

We wish to reach out and capture new drinkers with the new brand positioning and distinctive new taste profile. We’re staying ahead of the curve to unlock new drinking moments with them. 

RiA: Can you tell us about the launch initiatives that have been key to rolling out  the rebrand in different markets? 

Choo: Following the successful launch in Japan in 2022, we aim to sustain momentum with unique and immersive activations in different markets. The refreshed product packaging is one of the key highlights of the rebrand launch, as the  design centres around two silvers – a shiny metallic silver and a deep oxidised matte silver – that together reflects the Japanese sense of beauty.

At the launch event in Singapore. Source: Asahi

We rolled out experiential events at unexpected locations in Asia. In Singapore, we launched a pop-up event named “The Art of Taste”. The pop-up event consisted of tasting masterclass and Super Dry brewery installations, which delivered a modern twist to traditional beer consumption settings, and also reintroduced Asahi Super Dry to Singaporeans through an immersive journey. 

In Taiwan, we also hosted a store-within-store event in Taiwan’s popular bookstore Eslite in the  Nanxi district of Taipei, which brought the new silver brand world to Taiwan in a space with strong Modern Japan ambience. In Hong Kong, we partnered with popular food app, Deliveroo, and dining guide,  OpenRice, to offer combo sets and highlight participating restaurants where diners can explore  food pairings that are enhanced by the New Asahi Super Dry. 

On a more global stage, we are the official Beer Partner for four City Football Group clubs,  including Manchester City, Melbourne City, Yokohama F. Marinos and Sichuan Juniu. This partnership has provided us with a worldwide platform and high brand exposure to grow global awareness about Asahi Super Dry. The partnership also showcases how Asahi Super Dry goes beyond traditional boundaries to provide elevated experiences. Asahi Super Dry is also one of the official sponsors for the Rugby World Cup 2023, which will be kicking off in France in September.

At the Asahi launch in Taiwan. Source: Asahi

By serving Asahi at all tournament venues and fan zones, we aim to roll out the new positioning and connect Rugby supporters with their sporting heroes.  The aim of our partnerships with world stage Football and Rugby tournaments is to showcase  that the unique Super Dry taste can enrich fans’ experiences all over the world, not just within Japan. 

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RiA: How do you envision Asahi’s positioning in the different markets? 

Choo: We would like to bring the success from Japan, where we are the number 1 beer brand, to other  markets and embark on the journey to become the top two super premium beer brands across the globe. We envision that with Asahi Super Dry’s strong positioning, we will become an enduring symbol of progressive Japan, bringing vibrant creativity with a flexible fusion of  tradition and innovation to the rest of the world. We hope to lead audiences worldwide on a journey to discover the unexpected parts of modern Japan and celebrate Asahi Super Dry moments together.