Japan's Kirin ends Myanmar beer tie-up

Japanese drinks giant Kirin has scrapped its beer alliance with a conglomerate linked to the Myanmar military.

It comes after the army there staged a coup deposing the democratically elected government earlier this week.

Kirin's decision effectively scraps the joint venture called Myanmar Brewery.

Kirin's controlling stake is valued at up to $1.7 billion.

The move follows an inconclusive, seven-month probe by the firm into its Myanmar partner.

Kirin's 2015 investment in the country was part of a flood of Japanese money going into the Southeast Asian nation.

The Japanese government encouraged business ventures as sanctions were lifted and Aung San Suu Kyi's party won the first free election after nearly half a century.

But Kirin 's deal stood out because it tied the Tokyo-based beer maker directly to Myanmar Economic Holdings Public Company, which at the time was still sanctioned by the United States for its army ties.

Myanmar's military on Monday (February 1) overthrew the government of Suu Kyi, handing power to its top general.

Kirin said in a statement on Friday (February 5) “we have no option but to terminate our current joint-venture partnership.”

Consumers and restaurants in Myanmar have started boycotting army-linked products.

Myanmar Brewery controls nearly 80% of the country's beer market, according to figures published by Kirin in 2018.