Kirin Seeking “Alternatives” to its Partnerships with Myanmar Military

June 5th, 2020

As part of its “strategic review” of its operations in Myanmar, Kirin announced today that it is “exploring alternative structural options” for the ownership of its breweries in Myanmar.

Kirin’s breweries in Myanmar, Myanmar Brewery Limited and Mandalay Brewery Limited, are currently joint ventures with Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company (MEHL), a company owned and controlled by Myanmar’s military.

“This statement demonstrates that Kirin and its brands worldwide are feeling the growing pressure from their own customers to end their business partnerships with Myanmar’s military,” stated Simon Billenness, Executive Director of the International Campaign for the Rohingya and Campaign Director of No Business With Genocide.

Last year, International Campaign for the Rohingya organized a consumer boycott petition to Kirin and its brands worldwide. More recently, International Campaign for the Rohingya published a guide for how people could express their opposition to Kirin’s business with Myanmar’s military through the social media accounts of Kirin and its brands.

Kirin also announced that it has appointed Deloitte Tohmatsu Financial Advisory LLC “to conduct an independent review of MEHL’s financial and governance structures to determine the destination of proceeds from the joint-venture businesses Myanmar Brewery Limited and Mandalay Brewery Limited as a matter of urgency.”

The United Nations-mandated International Independent Fact-Finding Mission urged the international community to “sever ties with Myanmar’s military and the vast web of companies it controls and relies on” as “any foreign business activity involving the Tatmadaw (military) and its conglomerates MEHL and MEC poses a high risk of contributing to, or being linked to, violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. At a minimum, these foreign companies are contributing to supporting the Tatmadaw’s financial capacity.”

Kirin is a Japanese conglomerate, best known for its flagship Kirin Ichiban beer and its ownership of many other notable beer, spirit, and beverage companies worldwide. Through its Lion Beverages subsidiary, Kirin has been expanding through its acquisition of craft breweries in North America, Europe, and Australasia. Its investment in global brands make Kirin highly vulnerable to consumer boycotts and social media pressure.

In addition to its flagship brand, Kirin Ichiban beer, Kirin’s brands include: the Coca-Cola Company of Northern New England, Four Roses Distillery in Kentucky, San Miguel Brewery of the Philippines, Brooklyn Brewery, and Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing.  In Europe and Australasia, Kirin owns brands including: Fourpure Brewing (UK), Magic Rock Brewing (UK), Tooheys (Australia), Speight’s (Australia), Panhead Custom Ales (New Zealand), Emerson’s Brewery (New Zealand).

For more information contact:

Simon Billenness

Executive Director, International Campaign for the Rohingya

Campaign Director, No Business With Genocide

Mobile (US): 617-596-6158

Twitter: @Rohingya_ICR

[email protected]

www.rohingyacampaign.org

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