For the first time, the Rugby World Cup will be hosted by a country outside of the sport’s traditional heartlands. Japan has a proud rugby pedigree, but it’s not on the same level at New Zealand, England or Australia, for example.
That, however, hasn’t dampened the hype. The sport, at national and international level, is in rude health, buoyed by their incredible win over the Springboks at the last World Cup.
The Brave Blossoms are optimistic about their chances and have every right to be. And judging by the buildup, Japan also looks set to be an incredible host, something that goes far beyond the official organisers.
With the world’s rugby fans arriving in their thousands, local pub and bar owners are gearing up for the ’opportunity of a lifetime’.
With hoards of Irish, Aussies and English en route, Japanese pubs have had to dramatically increase their beer stocks ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
The tournament gets underway on Friday morning, with the hosts taking on Russia in the opener.
Fears were raised over the booze shortage with about a third of tickets purchased by overseas fans - said to be mostly from Britain, Ireland and Australia.
The average person in Japan consumed 53.5 litres of beer in 2018, which sounds like plenty, right? Nothing to fear at the World Cup, surely?
Well, there sort of is. That average consumption mark for a person in Japan is roughly half the amount consumed by the average British, Irish or Australian and that’d before you factor in rugby fans in full flow.
According to the organising committee, those coming from abroad are expected to drink four times as much as the average home spectator.
While the All Blacks, Springboks and the like are aiming for glory, the real winners could be theJapanese businesses locking down and preparing for the influx.
According to Japan Today, tournament organisers warned local businesses of the financial consequences of hosting a World Cup and not having sufficient beer in stock.
Tsuyoshi Ohta, president of pub chain Hub Co. Ohta, told Bloomberg it was the ‘chance of a lifetime’ and is stocking up to seven times their usual amount.
As a result, production of Heineken - the official tournament sponsor - will also rise 80% from last September.
Meanwhile, it is expected beer hawkers will be employed to bring the beer to anxious spectators in the crowd.
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