Kirin Brewery Company is a Japanese company. While best known as a brewery and maker of whiskey, Kirin also makes soft drinks, and has diversified businesses in foods, pharmaceuticals, logistics, engineering, real-estate and restaurants.
Longtime leader of the Japanese beer market, Kirin Brewery Company, Limited was overtaken in the early 2000s by its arch-rival, Asahi Breweries. Kirin nevertheless continues to sell two of the most popular beers in Japan, Kirin Lager (the country's oldest beer brand) and Ichiban Shibori. In the burgeoning happoshu (low-malt) category, Kirin Tanrei is the top seller. In addition, Kirin handles domestic distribution for several foreign brands, including Budweiser and Heineken. Kirin's brewery operations also extend overseas, through strategic alliances, subsidiaries, and affiliates, to China, Taiwan, Australia, the Philippines, Europe, and the United States. The company holds a 46 percent stake in Lion Nathan Limited, a consolidated subsidiary that is based in Australia but has particularly important operations in China. Kirin has also invested a 15 percent stake in San Miguel Corporation, the dominant brewer in the Philippines. With more than 100 years of experience in the brewing business, Kirin now applies its fermentation technology to areas such as plant genetics, pharmaceuticals, and bioengineering. Although brewing and related businesses remain the core of Kirin's activities, the company is also involved in several other sectors: hard liquor, wine, soft drinks, and food products.