|Happoshu is a Japanese "sparkling spirit" or low-malt beer that usually refers to a beverage with less than 67% malt content. Amusingly enough, Japanese tax laws do not classify this beverage as a "beer", thereby giving it a lower tax than beer. Due to brewer's efforts to keep the malt content below the intended tax threshold, most happoshu contain less than 25% malt, putting it in the lowest tax category of low-malt beer.
"Beer-flavored beverages collectively dubbed "the third beer" by the mass media have been developed to compete with happoshu. These alcoholic products fall under categories not yet as highly taxed. The third beer beverages either use malt alternatives, or they are a mix of happoshu and another type of alcohol. When comparing 350 ml cans, the third beer brands can be 10 to 25 yen cheaper than happoshu."
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