Dealing with alcohol-related problems
We will promote initiatives for responsible drinking to eradicate the harmful consumption of alcohol.
Responsible Marketing Activities
To advance our efforts to eradicate harmful drinking of alcohol as stated in the CSV Purpose, we will disclose our responsible marketing code as an alcohol producer. This code applies to Kirin Brewery, Mercian, Lion and Myanmar Brewery.
Global Marketing Code for Responsible Drinking
As a global organization that produces and sells beer, wine and spirits, the Kirin Group believes that it is our social responsibility to contribute to tackling problems caused by the harmful use of alcohol and to promote responsible drinking via company messages and our brands at all times to realize an enriched society.
We place the greatest emphasis on strengthening and complying with voluntary and/or co-regulatory standards for marketing, and on raising awareness of responsible drinking.
This Code is a commitment by the Kirin Group to be responsible in all marketing activities to promote responsible drinking, to conduct its business to consistently high standards and to respect local and national contexts.
This Code applies to all employees and partners involved in the Kirin Group's marketing and promotional activities for, and encompasses all forms of brand marketing, advertising, brand communications and promotional activities, including digital, regardless of channel or media. The Kirin Group will be respectful in its standards and measures according to the local social norms and customs.
The Kirin Group's marketing activities will be conducted respectful of the following principles:
Laws & Ethics
We will comply with the standards, policies and laws of each country and region. In addition, we will always conduct marketing activities with integrity and decency based on high standards of business ethics.
- We will not depict or suggest violent, aggressive, or antisocial behavior.
- We will not use abusive or obscene language.
- We will not use expressions that distort the truth or slander other companies’ products.
- Pregnancy Warning Label
All of our alcohol product labels have words or symbols that warn against drinking during pregnancy.
- Not for Minors Label
All of our alcohol product labels have words or symbols that warn against drinking by those under the legal drinking age.
- Non-alcoholic Products
Non-alcoholic products are intended for people of legal drinking age, and we will include the same “not for minors” label to indicate this. Our non-alcoholic products are clearly labeled as non-alcoholic to distinguish them from alcoholic products.
Responsible Advertising and Marketing
- We will not engage in advertising activities targeting people under the legal drinking age. In addition, participants in events that include drinking must be over the legal drinking age and will be encouraged to drink responsibly.
- A quantitative standard is set for the percentage of the media audience that is of legal drinking age, with a target of at least 70%.
- We will set a standard age limit for people and characters appearing in advertisements. Even if they meet the age requirement, expressions that make the person appear to be under the age limit are not allowed. However, if it is a part of the background scene or a crowd, it is acceptable to depict people under the standard age.
- We will comply with best practice, responsible protocols and for our online, digital and social media (in line with ※Digital Guiding Principles), while being respectful of local laws and customs.
- We will exclude any symbols, images, characters, animations, illustrations, stories, personalities, places, music, lyrics, or wording that appeal to persons under the legal drinking age.
- Product advertisements, logos, and brand names will not be used on clothing, toys, games, etc. that are intended for people under the legal drinking age.
- Large product advertising signs and street advertisements will not be placed in the vicinity of elementary, middle, and high schools.
We will not promote the high alcohol content (strength) of the product as the most attractive point of the product. However, for low-alcohol or non-alcohol products, the alcohol content of the product may be emphasized.
Responsible Portrayal of Alcohol
- We will not use expressions that suggest excessive or continuous drinking or heavy drinking in a short period of time. In addition, we will not use expressions that suggest intoxication or forced drinking. We will communicate in a way that respect the position of those who do not drink, without denying that they are abstaining from alcohol or sobriety.
- We will not use wording or expressions that may be associated with or induce drunk driving.
- We will not show pregnant woman drinking or encourage pregnant women to drink.
- We will not depict dangerous places or situations, or engage in any activities that may adversely affect your health.
- We will not depict drinking before or during activities that require a high level of attention or are potentially dangerous.
- We will not use expressions that suggest or induce drinking during or before sports or activities involving strenuous movement.
- We will not use expressions that may suggest or induce drinking before, during, or immediately after taking a hot bath.
- We will not use any expressions that may be associated with or induce alcoholism.
- We will not use advertising that emphasizes or evokes the health-promoting effects of drinking. In addition, we will not use wording or expressions that suggest that drinking alcohol gives you energy or stimulation.
- We will not use expressions that suggest that drinking alcohol is linked to work, financial, sporting, or social success.
- We will not use sexual expressions or expressions that strongly appeal to the opposite sex. In addition, we will not use expressions that suggest that drinking alcohol increases the attractiveness of a person.
- All employees of the Kirin Group involved in advertising activities shall fully understand the contents of this Code and act in accordance with its spirit. Similarly, partners involved in the Kirin Group’s advertising activities are required to understand this Code and to apply it to activities outsourced by the Kirin Group.
- This Global Code will be complemented by local market Codes of Practice, that are specific to legal, regulatory, industry standards and social norms.
- Advertising and promotional activities will be checked for compliance in accordance with the established approval process, and the person responsible for the activity will be held accountable for ensuring that all activities are in compliance with this Code.
- All employees involved in the advertising activities of the Kirin Group shall receive training on this Code, and shall be repeated on a regular basis each year to ensure that all employees are aware of them.
- ”Digital Guiding Principles” are a set of global standards for alcohol beverage marketing in digital media developed by International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to addressing the global public health issue of harmful drinking.
The Kirin Group recognizes its social responsibility as a company that manufactures and sells alcoholic beverages, and with the aim of conducting appropriate advertising activities, we only target people of legal drinking age in our advertisements and have also placed limitations of the expressions used in our advertising. In addition, we have established our own independent rules for ethical advertising that are stricter than the industry regulations for advertising and marketing*, and we continue to review, revise and strengthen these rules in accordance with the current social norms. Based on the Basic Act on Measures against Alcohol-related Harm enacted in 2014, we have raised the minimum age of the talent used in TV advertisements to 25 years old as an independent measure aimed at preventing the inducement of inappropriate alcohol consumption. Also, within our TV advertisements, we have stated in our internal rules that we will no longer emphasize the throat area and gulping sound, and this practice has since become standard industry-wide.
Also, a check system for ethical advertising has been created in order to confirm the contents of all advertisements, including TV, newspaper, magazine, Internet, SNS, public transportation and POP before they are released. A dedicated Ethical Advertising Committee performs strict checks every day, and the activities of the committee are strongly promoted through regular committee meetings. From the perspective of alcohol related problems, an ARP officer has been appointed within the CSV Strategy Department as the designated point of contact, and along with strictly checking advertisement images, warnings and advertisement expressions, the ARP officer also works to prevent inappropriate marketing activities and conduct awareness activities for responsible drinking targeting persons both inside and outside the company.
All alcoholic beverage containers contain the warnings "Consuming alcohol while pregnant or breastfeeding may harm fetus or infant development. Must be at least 20 years old to consume alcohol." with the aim of preventing underage drinking and alcohol consumption while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Also, product containers contain an "Alcoholic beverage mark*" in an easy to see location in order to prevent confusion with soft drinks (the term "Contains alcohol" is printed within a circle).
In addition, "Contains alcohol" is also printed in braille on the can lid.
For can chu-hi products using fruit as part of the package design, the underage drinking and no alcohol while pregnant or breastfeeding warnings are displayed in two locations as part of the efforts to eliminate harmful alcohol consumption.
- Display on all canned alcoholic beverages containing less than 10% alcohol and containers excluding those with a content of 300ml or less.
In 2015, when accessing the corporate websites containing information regarding alcoholic beverages, an age verification gateway was added where the user must confirm being at least 20 years old by answering "yes" or "no".
Furthermore, from May 2019, with the aim of further preventing underage drinking, the gateway was revised to require inputting the year of birth, and users found to be underage are sent to a webpage stating underage minors are not able to view "alcohol related content" (Underage drinking prevention webpage). Also, once a person is found to be underage, returning to the age verification gateway will still result in being automatically sent to the underage drinking prevention webpage. If the age cannot be confirmed based only on the birth year, it is required to enter the month and day of birth.
As part of our efforts to eradicate the harmful use of alcohol, the amount of net alcohol (g) contained in our main alcohol products sold in Japan has been indicated in the list of nutritional information on the website introducing the relevant products.
The labeling of the net alcohol content on the product itself began in April 2022 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2023. The target products include beer (beer, low-malt beer, and new genre) and Ready-to-Drink products in 350ml and 500ml cans produced in Japan.
In addition to the amount of net alcohol content, a shortened URL that leads to our website on responsible drinking is also indicated. We hope that this will help customers to choose alcohol products that match their physical constitution and to control the amount of alcohol they drink by deepening their knowledge of responsible drinking.
Red area translation: 12.6g of net alcohol per can (for more information, please see tekiryo.jp)
Kirin Group, in cooperation with industry associations, medical associations, and other related organizations, conducts various educational activities aimed at responsible drinking, as well as strengthening and revising its voluntary standards to promote responsible marketing activities.
Beer Brewers Association
The Beer Brewers Association, a specially authorized corporation established in 1953 by Kirin Brewery and four other beer companies, is engaged in voluntary activities to prevent and improve the inducement of inappropriate drinking. In addition to the dissemination of correct knowledge, such as the prevention of underage drinking and appropriate drinking for women, the association works to ensure appropriate beer liquor taxation, promote environmental beautification and resource conservation, and collaborate with brewing organizations in Japan and overseas.
Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association
It is a corporation established in 1953 under the Law Concerning Preservation of Liquor Taxes and Liquor Industry Associations, etc., and is organized by manufacturers of whiskey, brandy, spirits, liqueurs, sweet fruit wine, and miscellaneous liquors (similar in nature to mirin). As a member of the association, Kirin is involved in efforts to address social issues related to alcohol, such as the issue of alcohol and health, and also participates in movements to protect the environment, such as recycling of containers.
Health and Medicine of Alcohol Association
Established in 1980, it is an incorporated association under the joint jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and the Ministry of Finance. With the aim of promoting and raising awareness of responsible drinking, the association publishes journals and information magazines, holds lectures, distributes videos and posters, and conducts surveys and research on alcoholic beverages and health. Kirin and other alcoholic beverage companies cooperate with the association to publish an information magazine on alcohol problems three times a year.
IARD(International Alliance for Responsible Drinking)
In order to address alcohol-related issues as a global challenge, Kirin Holdings is a member of IARD, an international non-profit organization involving the world's major alcoholic beverage manufacturers, and has been promoting the Industry Commitment, a joint statement to promote proper drinking and reduce harmful drinking on a global level, in the Group's major business regions since 2013.
Initiatives to Provide Responsible Drinking Education
Other initiatives in Japan
We will introduce our various activities to raise awareness of responsible drinking to solve alcohol-related problems, including advertisements that inform people of the risks of drinking and encourage them to be careful.
Initiatives of Lion and Myanmar Brewery
At Lion and Myanmar Brewery (MBL), opportunities are being provided to think about responsible drinking by stating the pure alcohol content on the container, conveying information about the amount of alcohol consumed, and conducting awareness programs.
Expansion of sales of no- and lower-alcohol products
Initiatives to Promote Non-Alcoholic Beverages
"Excessive consumption of alcohol negatively affects health and can trigger lifestyle diseases. The Kirin Group is contributing to the realization of enjoyment in daily life without thinking about the affect of alcohol through development and sales of non-alcoholic products with good taste. Having the option of non-alcoholic beverages to take a day off from drinking alcohol and as a chaser during parties makes it easier to have a mature relationship with alcohol. In October 2019, KIRIN KARADA FREE, a non-alcoholic beer that also helps reduce visceral fat, was launched as a food with functional claims that provides both good taste and health benefits.
It is also recommended for drivers and others who want to drink but cannot consume alcohol. As one of the initiatives to eliminate drunk driving, Kirin Brewery supports the ""Designated driver movement"", and in addition to including the designated driver mark on the container of the non-alcoholic beer Kirin Zero Ichi (Non-alcohol), we are working to increase awareness of the designated driver movement.
Non-alcoholic products have a similar taste as their alcoholic counterparts, and they have been developed for consumers who are at least 20 years old. Going forward, we will work to further expand the lineup of these products."
Non-alcoholic beverages of Kirin Group (Japanese Only)
Products with alcohol content labels
Initiatives of Lion and Myanmar Brewery
Lion and MBL have created symbols that indicate the amount of alcohol contained in 1 drink. These symbols are printed on the product label and enable customers to know how much alcohol they are consuming. In addition, these symbols make it easier for customers to moderate their alcohol consumption.
Contributing to healthy and pleasurable lives by developing a variety of non-alcoholic beers
Kirin Brewery successfully developed the world’s ﬁrst 0.00% non-alcoholic beer and named it KIRIN FREE in 2009.
Consumers immediately reacted very positively after the product was launched. Sales volume reached around four million cases annually in a market that had previously generated total annual sales of about 2.5 million cases. At the same time, the product created a new market for 0.00% non-alcoholic beer. We also collaborated with police departments in drunk driving prevention events and carried out promotional campaigns at highway service areas. Through those eﬀorts, we helped alleviate the problem of drinking and driving in Japan.
Introducing some of the Kirin Group's efforts to create and share social value