AGG Okinawa's most popular beer taps military ties to US

TOKYO -- Orion Breweries' prospects for winning over more drinkers in U.S. and Asian markets, helped by its brand recognition among American military personnel and tourists, put the unlisted Japanese beer on the radar for a takeover offer by Nomura Holdings and Carlyle Group.
The Japanese investment bank and the U.S. private equity firm seek to acquire Japan's fifth-largest beer brewer in a deal expected to be worth several hundred million dollars, Nikkei Business reported on Friday.
Overseas markets offer its best hope for growth. In the U.S., Orion has built up a following of sorts among U.S. military personnel and their families who drank its brew at bars and restaurants while stationed in Okinawa. The brewer ships as far afield as New York, where it is trying to ride a wave of popularity of Japanese food and drink.
Sales abroad make up just 5% of the total on a volume basis, but the brewer is putting more effort into marketing in places like Taiwan and South Korea. Orion likely sees an opportunity to use Carlyle's global network to speed its overseas expansion.
Responding to the reports, Orion said on Friday that it was "always considering various options."
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