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RWC: Keep the beers flowing

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RWC's organising committee warns Japanese cities about 'bad publicity' beer shortages

Rugby World Cup’s 2019 organising committee has called on business operators in match host cities in Japan to ensure they have sufficient supplies of beer ordered in readiness for the arrival of beer-thirsty fans from abroad.

Organisers claim it has been a problem at past tournaments where restaurants and bars ran out of beer trying to accommodate the demand from World Cup spectators. They fear any shortage in 2019 will cost venues lucrative business opportunities and potentially trigger bad publicity on social media.

According to a report from Japanese media organisation Jiji Press, research from the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England highlighted that beer consumption at stadiums was more than six times the amount consumed when football matches were held at the same venues.

Total beer consumption at the last finals stood at 1.9million litres, including at public viewing sites. Of the total, 1.3 million litres was consumed at match venues.

More than 400,000 foreigners are forecast to visit Japan during the coming World Cup, which will start in September when the Japanese host Russia in the opening match.

The concerns about beer shortages were among issues raised at recent briefing sessions in Sapporo, Hokkaido and Oita, the three Japanese cities that are set to deal with the largest influx of international visitors.

An Oita prefectural official told Jiji Press that after explanations by the organising committee, the region’s restaurants and wholesalers had acknowledged the issue of beer shortages as a realistic problem.

Oita Stadium is hosting three pool stage matches – Wales v Fiji, New Zealand v Canada, and Australia v Uruguay – along with two quarter-finals.

Oita Prefecture has responded to the warnings by asking major beer brewing companies to improve their supply arrangements, and called on watering holes to extend their opening hours to allow for after-match drinks.

Numerous restaurants and taverns in Japan entice customers with all-you-can-drink packages for a set number of hours. Venues offering these nomihoudai deals have also been advised by Oita Prefecture to take care not to run out of beer.

WATCH: The RugbyPass documentary that is a must-see for fans planning on attending the Rugby World Cup in Japan

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RWC's organising committee warns Japanese cities about 'bad publicity' beer shortages