The following is a quote from a Kyodo article. Just these numbers give you a good idea of Japanese beer trends. All categories are falling except for the lowest price third category beers (essentially a mix of beer and some sort of liquor like shochu in order to be categorized into a lower tax category). This trend could lead to 3rd category beer overtaking real beer by volume in next few years.
"Shipments of regular beer slumped 4.1 percent to 18.59 million cases, while those of third-category beer climbed 5.5 percent to 12.69 million cases. Shipments of "happoshu" low-malt beer fell 2.1 percent to 4.96 million cases."
36.25 million cases
Beer: 18.59 million cases (down 4.1 percent)
2nd Category or Happoshu: 4.96 million cases (down 2.1 percent)
3rd Category or Happosei: 12.69 million cases (up 5.5 percent)
Another interesting point to note is how just 5 breweries are large enough to represent the entire beer market. Since Orion is an Asahi company, you could narrow it down to just 4 companies. Obviously little guys have a hard time in Japan.
Photo is a web capture for explanatory purposes, copyright belongs to the company.