The warning was issued to local businesses from the organising committee according to Jiji Press. If the beer does run out, bars, hotels and restaurants could face a loss of lucrative revenue and gain some bad publicity on social media.
The cities of Sapporo, Oita and Hokkaido were specifically named in the recommendations as they will host the bulk of the 400,000 expected foreign visitors in the rugby tournament. While beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in the country, such a huge international tournament can put major pressure on supply lines.
Oita Prefecture is preparing for the event by asking local bars to extend their opening hours for visitors after the matches and has asked local brewing companies to ensure their supplies lines are running smoothly.
The idea of cities running out of beer may seem ludicrous but there is plenty of precedent for the worry. In 2018 many bars in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod ran out of beer during the FIFA World Cup tournament due to a combination of hot weather and thirsty fans.
If past performance is any indicator, this year’s Rugby World Cup will be a pretty boozy affair. In the last world cup in 2015, venues in England reported that beer consumption was six times higher than at soccer games. In total, about 1.3 million litres of beer was drunk just at the official venues during the games.