Japanese brewers are launching a range of new beers that tap into a growing taste for "third-category" beers, which are conveniently cheaper than conventional beers because they get around government tax laws by containing no malt. Kirin plans to launch a new brew, called 1000, that uses hard water and contains elevated amounts of calcium and magnesium to give it a distinctive flavor. Asahi Breweries is to release Strong Off, which has a relatively high alcohol content of 7 percent and 60 percent less carbohydrates, whilst Suntory is using seven different types of hops into its new Relax beer-like drink.
Mmmm... It's not like the drink they would be drinking in Blade Runner - it is the official sub-species drink of the replicants. Now representing 30% of the "beer and beer-like" segment of the Japanese beverage market, third-category beer is not going away and does remind me of the questions Tom has posed in relation to US craft beer's fixation on corn and rice as solely evil substances. Yet, if it were sold here even in bright shining cooler as shown above, I imagine I would never drink it even if I am not entirely against soy peptides as a rule.