Suntory plans to install non-alcoholic beer vending machines in Japanese offices for workers who could use a drink while on the job.

Even a group of highly talented professionals can sometimes find itself struggling to find a solution to a problem. So when things look like they’re grinding to a halt in workplace discussions, you need to find a way to kick-start a breakthrough.

Some swear by strategies such as having everyone jot down a set number of ideas, either good or bad. Others say that when creative lockup occurs, it’s best to let everyone go home, get some rest, and take a fresh look at the situation the next day. And now, beverage maker Suntory has a suggestion of its own: When the participants in an office meeting aren’t making progress towards a solution, why not let them crack open a beer?

Specifically, Suntory is talking about non-alcoholic beer, such as its All-Free brand. After getting off to a shaky start, alcohol-free beer has been rising in popularity in Japan over the past few years. Asashi says it’ll be boosting its production of non-alcoholic beer for the peak-demand July/August period by 20 percent compared to last year, while Kirin is pumping out twice as much for the two-month period as it had originally planned.

On the distribution front, Suntory says it will be installing some 500 vending machines in Japan stocked only with non-alcoholic beer, with many of the machines planned for installation in office buildings to meet demand from customers who want to knock back a non-alcoholic beer during workday breaks. Ryuji Ito, a Suntory marketing representative, even goes so far as to say “There are increasing opportunities to drink non-alcoholic beer as a mental refresher during meeting that get bogged down.”

But while Ito is bullish on the concept of using non-alcoholic beer as a lubricant to get your mental gears turning again, it’s also important to bear in mind that some Japanese companies very much frown upon the idea, so if you’re new on the job you’re probably best off sticking to coffee or tea unless your boss specifically offers you an alcohol-free brew.

Source: NHK News Web via Hachima Kiko
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