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The History of Kirin Postwar Transition and Reconstruction(1945-1955)

After the Pacific War ended in August 1945, Kirin Brewery resumed the production of beer in small quantities as raw materials were in short supply. When the General Headquarters of the Allied Forces, established to reign over occupied Japan, set a ceiling on overall beer production, Kirin Brewery and DaiNippon Beer—the two major beer companies that survived the war—were pressed to split already scarce raw materials between them and set self-imposed quotas on beer production using the market share percentage that each company had held during the war. As Kirin Brewery had been the smaller of the two, its production quota was set much lower than the other's. To keep the company afloat, Kirin Brewery produced soy sauce and started a warehousing business using its idle brewing facilities and warehouses.

In 1947, a law to break the monopoly of big businesses in Japanese industries became effective, under which 325 companies, including Kirin Brewery and DaiNippon Beer, were to be broken down into smaller entities. However, only a few of them were actually broken up, as the United States reversed its occupation policy toward Japan and eased the implementation of the law. While Kirin Brewery was exempted from being split, DaiNippon Beer was divided into Nippon Breweries (currently Sapporo Holdings) and Asahi Breweries (currently Asahi Group Holdings).

In 1949, postwar control on the distribution of alcohol beverages was lifted. Kirin Brewery resumed operating its regional offices and outposts around Japan in July 1949 in an effort to establish a nationwide network of dealers. In December of that year, restrictions as to where beer companies were allowed to ship their beers within the country were lifted, and they were granted permission to market their beer products under their own brands—Kirin Brewery resumed selling its beer under the Kirin Beer brand.

The Korean War, which broke out in June 1950, triggered an economic boom in Japan, which provided supplies and services for U.S. forces. Japanese beer companies also benefited from the boom and sharply increased production during these years; Kirin Brewery upgraded production equipment in its four beer plants (Yokohama, Amagasaki, Sendai, and Hiroshima) and doubled the production capacity in three years by the end of 1954. During this period, the company decided to have a beer plant in Tokyo. However, the postwar quotas on beer production set for beer companies were still in effect, which hindered Kirin Brewery's ability to make full use of its expanded production capacity. Therefore, the company focused its marketing efforts on the communities in which its beer plants were located and on large cities. When production quotas were finally eliminated in 1954, Kirin Brewery commanded the top spot in the volume of beer shipment among Japanese beer companies.

Kirin Beer supplied to the occupation forces stationed in Japan
Labels for soy sauce and other products that Kirin made in the postwar transition period
Kirin Beer label brought back in 1949

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