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Unintended alcoholic punch

June 21, 2004 - Japanese officials have discovered that an occasional bottle of "non-alcoholic" Buckler beer may have contained more punch than advertised.

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Heineken Japan and Kirin Brewery, who produce the beer that is supposed to have less than 0.5% alcohol by volume, have recalled more than 1 million bottles.

During the production process, insufficient heating reportedly led to beers fermenting in bottles, boosting the alcohol content. In Japan, drinks are taxable if they contain 1% or more of alcohol.

Earlier this month, a sake dealer contacted the producers saying the color of the drink was a clouded white color. That led to a check of the brewery in the Netherlands where the beer is produced, it was found that a water-heating pipe that was supposed to be used to pasteurize the yeast had become blocked, and yeast had been left in the product as a result.

When Kirin Brewery examined 32,000 bottles it had stored, it found 86 were clouded white. Of these, one had reached an alcohol content of 1%.


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