A alcoholic beverage found on every continent on the planet.
In Japan beer is the most consumed alcoholic beverage. According to a 2007 Japan Times article, Japan is the world's seventh largest producer of beer and the sixth largest consumer. Japan has several large beer companies. The major ones, sometimes called "the big four" are Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo and Suntory. Another popular brand, the Okinawa based Orion, is distributed though out the rest of Japan by Asahi. Recently microbreweries have become increasingly popular in Japan and craft beer bars are popping up in major cities across the country. Japan has also produced some unique beers. In the late 1980s Asahi Super Dry Beer created a beer revolution in Japan. It quickly became the most popular beer and lead to the other Japanese companies creating their own dry beers, none of which ever reached the popularity of Asahi. U.S. companies, like Budweiser, also produced their own dry beers. However they never really caught on. Japan also produces a special "beer" called happoshu. Happoshu can be translated as "sparkling liquor". It is like a beer, but it has less malt content. This allows happoshu drinks to avoid some taxes, because of this it is less expensive. However as new taxes were imposed on happoshu Japanese beer companies reacted by creating dai san beer, or third-category beer. It has less malt and replaces it with pea protein, soy protein, or soy peptide so it can avoid the new tax laws. Third-category beer might also contain some added liquor. The newest trend in Japanese beer has been low calorie beer and zero alcohol beer. At company or school club parties one is not supposed to pour their own drink. So coworkers or friends will pour drinks out for each other from larger bottles. This behavior can often been seen in anime when people are at a party. Also it is often possible to tell what brand of beer your favorite anime character likes based on the color of the can. A good example of this is Misato Katsuragi from Evangelion. In several episodes she can be seen drinking from a gold can with the letters YEB displayed. This is a clear reference to Yebisu, a premium beer put out by Sapporo. Some other common examples are a white can (especially with a star) for Sapporo. A sliver can for Asahi Super Dry and a tan colored can (especially if is say Malt) for Suntory.