How to take highball sales to new heights in Japan

With highball sales set for more growth in Japan’s On Premise this year, research from CGA by NIQ reveals what suppliers and venues can do to capture more share.

To read the blog in Japanese, click here.


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CGA’s On Premise User Survey (OPUS) shows nearly a fifth (18%) of visitors to Japan’s bars and restaurants consume highballs. Of these, 70% are drinking them as often as they were a year ago and 18% are buying them more often—a significantly higher number than the 12% who are purchasing less frequently. 


OPUS delivers extensive insights into the preferences and purchasing factors of these highball consumers. It indicates the appeal of a variety of serve styles and shows how many consumers specify a preference for highballs to be prepared by bartenders. By offering diverse serving styles, brands can appeal to a broad audience and enhance their market penetration. 


Drinkers in Japan On Premise are motivated by a combination of value and familiarity. More than a quarter say good value for money is the most important factor in their choice, while 19% always select their favourite brand. With CGA’s specialized insights, beverage brands can discern which brands resonate most with highball drinkers, thereby facilitating the expansion of their appeal in the lucrative highball market. 


However, while value is important, there is also demand for more expensive highball brands, as more than a third of drinkers choose premium options at least some of the time. There is also a strong sense of loyalty, with nearly one in three motivated to buy a highball because of the trustworthiness of the name. Despite the emphasis on value, OPUS data indicates a demand for premium options, reflecting consumers’ willingness to invest in quality and prestige. By introducing high-end offerings and crafting compelling sales stories with CGA’s expertise, brands can capitalize on this demand and differentiate themselves in the market.


Kotaro Katayama, Senior Manager-New Business Development, said: Highballs are a powerful category in Japan’s On Premise, and it’s great to see that consumers are ready to spend more here in the months ahead. In a complex market, trust and versatility are the keys to success, and it’s vital to provide wide options in both serving styles and price. With so many drinkers motivated by value it’s not always easy to promote new and premium brands, but by crafting the right sales stories there’s great potential to encourage drinkers towards fresh options. For both established spirits suppliers and new brands alike, effective highball strategies require a deep understanding of what consumers want, and our OPUS service is the ideal starting point for success.”


CGA by NIQ’s OPUS service is trusted by leading beverage companies globally as an outstanding source of consumer knowledge and actionable insights. Backed by expert-driven deliverables, is provides a nuanced understanding of beverages in the On Premise, and bespoke research is available for even deeper findings. To learn more about the OPUS solution in Japan, click here and please contact Kotaro Katayama here.

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