Translated by Lester Somera
Just a Kansai guy trying to get by
This article will introduce you to Horoyoi, a low-alcohol drink from Suntory available only in Japan. This drink is quite popular with light drinkers and international visitors to Japan.
While you may constantly see certain products at supermarkets and convenience stores if you live in Japan, many of them are thought of as quite rare by people living overseas.
The best example of this is the Matcha KitKat. While you can get a regular KitKat anywhere in the world, matcha-flavored KitKats can only be found in Japan. In addition to food, products such as Kobayashi Pharmaceutical’s Eyebon eyewash are extremely rare. Many people who have used Eyebon say things like “It feels like I gave my eyeballs a shower, they feel so refreshed!” and buy it as a souvenir to take home. Those uniquely Japanese products are now garnering popularity overseas.
Among these unique Japanese products, Suntory’s Horoyoi alcoholic beverage is so popular that there are people who come to Japan just to buy it. While Horoyoi also enjoys popularity with twenty-something Japanese women, why is it especially popular with international visitors? Let’s take a look at the appeal of Horoyoi.
First, the biggest secret to Horoyoi’s popularity is its low alcohol content. While most canned Japanese chu-hi beverages are 5% ABV, Horoyoi is just 3%. It has been manufactured so that people who don’t like the taste of alcohol are able to enjoy an alcoholic beverage with ease. Up until now, many canned chu-hi beverages with high ABV have been sold to reflect the views of people who like drinking, and who think that drinking regular chu-hi is not an effective way to get drunk. However, Horoyoi was made to reflect the views of people who don’t like alcohol, and this revolutionary product is overwhelmingly supported.
It is also said that Horoyoi is different from other canned chu-hi because it has extremely cute packaging. Up until now, marketing for the canned chu-hi sold in Japan would stress its alcoholic content, so people who didn’t like alcohol would hesitate about buying it. However, as you can see in the photo, the can depicts a cute glass and pictures of fruit in pastel colors. Horoyoi’s cute design makes it easy for someone who isn’t a strong drinker to think about picking up a can.
Of course, popularity doesn’t come solely from cute packaging. Horoyoi’s refreshing drinkability is supported by many people, and there are various seasonal flavors so that you’ll never get bored with the taste.
Perhaps the greatest appeal of Horoyoi is the great variety of flavors.
The extremely popular Peach flavor has the characteristic refreshing sweetness of white peaches, as well as a gentle aroma. It is one of the most-loved Horoyoi flavors among Japanese fans.
With the Iced Tea Sour flavor, you can enjoy the fragrance of black tea with every sip, along with a faint lemony taste.
The Umeshu Soda flavor has a mellow fragrance and taste to go with its pleasant fizziness.
The Grape Sour flavor has the sweet smell of grapes and a gentle carbonation.
In addition to the staple flavors, there are also seasonal varieties. The Winter Ginger flavor is pictured here. Its standout characteristics are its mellow ginger ale aroma and a refreshing flavor, with a pleasant carbonated fizziness that makes it a drink you’ll want to spend your cold winter with.
In addition to the other ones pictured, there are flavors like Cassis Orange, Cola Sour, Lemon Ginger and Honey Lemon. Some places do not stock more than a few varieties, so if you want to savor the full range of Horoyoi varieties, we recommend buying them at a major store.