produced the biggest market share shake-up an industry history. By 1991, however,the new product sweepstakes appeared to have become a negative-sum game, andthe high costs of developing and advertising new beers had many in the industrylonging for a return to the more stable and profitable competitive arrangements of the pre-1980s.About the time Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) was penning the line “Water,water everywhere, nor any drop to drink,” British and Dutch trading ships were oft-loading kegs of beer in Japan. In 1870 Japan’s first brewery, Spring ValleyBrewery, was established by an American in Yokohama, and by the early twentiethcentury the popularity of beer had grown to the point where as many as 100independent breweries were operating.World War I proved to be a boon for Japanese brewers. Fueled by a consumer market in Southeast Asia that European producers were unable to supply because of the war, local breweries began exporting an expanding. The building of new plantswas facilitated by the availability at bargain prices of brewing and battlingequipment from America, where prohibition had shut down scores of companies.Brands such as Sakura, Kabuto, Fuji, Union, and Cascade Beer flourished, alongwith today’s familiar Kirin, Sapporo, and Asahi.All was not a bed of hops, however. With the stock market crash andworldwide depression of the late 1920s and 1930s, demand plummeted, resulting ina period of brewery failures and consolidations. As Japan went to war in the late1930s and 1940s, barley and hops became harder to obtain, there were shortages of needed electricity and coal, and beer taxes were raised continuously to provide war funds. By the end of the war only three brewers remained in Japan, and one of thesewent out of business in 1948. The two that remained were Kirin Beer, a descendantof Spring Valley, and Dai Nippon Breweries, which had evolved over a 40-year period through the merging of numerous independent brewers, among them theoriginal Sapporo and Asahi.In 1949 Dai Nippon Breweries, which controlled nearly three-quarters of the beer market, was declared to be in violation of Japan’s anti-monopoly law, whichhad been imposed by the United States in its postwar occupation of Japan for the purpose of dissolving Japan’s zaibatsu (financial cliques). Dai Nippon was split intotwo parts along geographical lines: its breweries and distribution network in westernJapan became present-day Asahi Beer, while its breweries and distribution network in eastern Japan (including Tokyo) became Sapporo.